"The Truth Seeker," An Allegory
Dear Friend, I recall my youth spent in the pursuit of wood, hay, and stubble. Only later in life did I learn the value of the gold, silver, and precious stones that last forever. According to Paul in 1st Corinthians 3:10-15, we can build our lives upon the foundation of Jesus Christ with either worthless things or things that endure the fire of righteousness. I trust that you, in these last days, invest in things of eternal value. Here is an allegory about a seeker of eternal things. —David Telbat.
The Truth Seeker
by D.I. Telbat
There once was a great prince in a mighty castle. He had a warehouse of gems and a room full of gold. Yet, he was unhappy. The prince was miserable because he had no answers to his questions. Even his wisest counselors could not answer his queries.
One day, the prince donned a torn cloak and ventured outside of the castle to seek answers from the village people rather than from his court.
Along the path, he came upon a woodsman who split and stacked firewood.
"Good man, you seem to enjoy life quite a bit," said the prince. "You have a smile on your face as you apply your hand to your axe."
"Get what you can," said the woodsman, "and take what you must. That is my motto."
"It sounds like a good motto," said the prince, "but in all your getting and taking, what do you achieve?"
"Why, profit, of course!" The woodsman scoffed. "A man who has much wealth when he dies is a man who can hold his head up. This is my dream."
"But the world is so dark," said the prince, "and I can see no hope in the wealth you seek, since it cannot take away the pains of the heart or deliver from the pain of death."
"I don't have time to think of such things!" The woodsman swung his axe at a chunk of wood. "I am building a business, turning a profit, and creating an empire."
"Yes, I see that." The prince frowned. "But can you tell me where I may find truth that differs from lies, life beyond this living death, and freedom from all my woes?"
"You sound most miserable, young traveler." The woodsman turned his back. "I can give you an axe to cut your own wood and make your own fortune, but truth, life, and freedom I cannot give you. Perhaps you may purchase them if you build a great fortune."
The prince walked away from the woodsman, now more discouraged than when he had sat in his castle. His hope to find answers outside his fortress shrank the closer he drew to the village.
He came upon a farmer who stood beside a mighty plow horse. The thick yellow hay from the farmer's field was piled high next to the road.
"Good sir!" the prince called. "Perhaps you have the answers I seek."
"I will do my best, young man," the farmer said. "Tell me what you want to know for I have been gifted with much wisdom from the spirits."
"The spirits?" The prince nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, perhaps you are in touch with something greater than I can fathom. The world is so dark and I can find no hope in it. Can you tell me where I may find truth that differs from lies?"
"There are no lies," said the farmer, "only dimensions of truth."
"Hmm. How about life?" asked the prince. "Do you know the path that delivers a life from ending in depressing death?”
"There is no death, only variations of life." The farmer held up his arms to the hay field. "The whole earth is full of the cycle of life. Look at my plow horse here. Who is to say he is not some past relative of mine reborn for this moment?"
"Why, then, do you use your relative to plow your field?"
"Who is to say the field even exists?" The farmer shook his head. "You don't understand, young man, what it means to connect with nature. Be gone from here before your negativity spreads to me!"
"What about freedom from my woes? Can you tell me how to be set free?"
"Just think positively," said the farmer. "Yes, the gods will do the rest if you open your mind to their voices. Let their light in. The spirits are all around us. You must connect with the world in perfect harmony."
Suddenly, a bee flew past the farmer's head. He swatted at the bee, which retaliated by stinging the horse on his rump. The horse bucked and dashed away, dragging the plow behind him. The farmer cursed and chased his relative across the hay field.
"I believe I may find more than this man's harmony," said the prince to himself, and continued toward the village.
On the edge of the village, he came upon a seller of stubble.
"Sticks and twigs are my trade!" announced the seller to passersby. Bundles of crooked wood were stacked behind the merchant. "Put them together and you'll see what you can make."
"You make things with this stubble?" asked the prince, touching a stick the length of his arm.
"Of course!" The seller stepped up close to the prince. "You have an eye for a good deal, I can tell. Look at this bundle of stubble. What do you want to build? A house, a tower, or a bridge? A cart, a cage, or a wagon?"
"Surely, nothing from this stubble would be dependable for too long."
"The quality of what you make with my stubble is not what's important," said the seller of stubble. "What matters is how you use this stubble to unite with others in this world. Join with us, traveler, and you will find companionship like you've never known."
"I'll be the companion of other builders of stubble?"
"Can you think of anything greater?" The seller gazed afar off. "Think of it now. You could bring unity to a town, a city, or a country. Just take this stubble and make something with it. What else do you have in life except to join with others in making a name for ourselves?"
"But will this pursuit of unity help me emerge from my hopelessness?" asked the prince. "Can you tell me where I may find truth that differs from lies, life beyond this living death, and freedom from my woes?"
"I think you're crazy to want such things!" The seller laughed at the prince, then pointed at him for other travelers to notice. "This man thinks there is something better in life than joining the rest of us in our pursuits of greatness together!"
Others laughed and pointed at him, so the prince felt no welcome, even though the prospect of unity did seem more favorable than what he deplored in the castle.
Finally, the prince reached the village. All around him, he watched villagers hustling this way and that, carrying their wood, hay, and stubble.
"You are a stranger here," said a man.
"I am new here," said the prince, "but I am no stranger."
The prince acknowledged a man in rags who sat against a horse trough. A stringed instrument with two broken strings sat in the man's lap.
"Perhaps you are not a stranger," said the musician, "but you are a seeker."
"Yes, I am. No one seems to have the answers for my questions. A woodsman told me that wealth is the answer to life's meaning, but he could not tell me about truth. A farmer assured me that the spirits of creation would guide me, but he could not tell me about life. And a seller of stubble urged me to join his guild, but there was no freedom in his words."
"So, you have learned what you do not want," said the musician. "Can you tell me what you do want?"
"My woes are so grave. I want to know truth in this world that differs from lies."
"I see. Have you discovered that you are not the source of truth?"
"I have discovered what you say—and no man appears to be the source of truth, either. Life without truth seems quite hopeless."
"But there is hope. God is the source of truth. You have only to receive from His Word, and the truth will set you free."
"Then truth can be known?"
"Absolutely. Read from God's Word, and you will find truth beyond your imagination."
"And life? Can you tell me if life is possible beyond this living death I daily walk?"
"Indeed. Life is a gift for the one who knows he is dead. Have you seen your soul's desperate need for life?"
"Oh, yes! My past and my present—it is stained with my wicked thoughts and terrible desires. I desperately need this gift of life."
"Again, you must receive it from God. Trust in His Son for your new life. He has overcome the death of this life, and He alone gives believers His own overcoming life."
"Then I must have this as well!" The prince sighed cautiously. "But what of freedom? I can truly have freedom from all my woes?"
"Yes, you may. But freedom is not found without, as the woodsman told you. Nor is freedom found within, as the farmer told you. Freedom is never found in the union with other seekers either, as the stubble seller told you. Freedom must come from above."
"From above." The prince lifted his eyes. "The words you speak touch my heart. I am humbled before the God you say gives so much, yet as small as I feel, I know I am finally to be lifted up."
"Then my work here is finished." The musician stood and cradled his stringed instrument. "You are no longer a seeker, for you have found what you have sought. Now, you are a receiver, and your life is hidden in the living Truth of God who gives life and freedom."
"Where will you go from here?" asked the prince.
"I have answers comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones," said the musician, "but even I must ask God to refine me from the wood, hay, and stubble of this life. Soon, God will take us home and prove to us what things were most valuable and what is worthless for eternity."
"If eternity is before us," said the prince, "then I choose to invest the rest of my life in what has value. And perhaps there is a woodsman, a farmer, and a merchant who needs to know what I have discovered about truth, life, and freedom!"
NOTE: In our previous newsletter, we said we would be bringing you a short story titled, “Last Words.” Because of an unforeseen issue, we’ve needed to switch that story with this one, so you’ll see it on 9/5 instead.
COMING UP: Join us next time (8/15) for David’s Author Reflection, “Three Attitudes for God’s People in Today’s World.” And on 8/29 we will have David’s next Novel Update.
If you missed our last newsletter, you can find it here.