Once upon a time there was a king. He was a good king and loved his loyal subjects very much. He loved one servant so much that when he decided to go on a long journey, he left this servant in charge of planting all the crops of the palace fields. The servant was very honored that his master would entrust him with this great responsibility and gladly agreed.
The day after the king left, a man came to the castle (knowing that the king was gone) and asked, "I would like to speak with the good king." "I'm sorry," said the servant, "but the king has gone on a journey and will not return for a long time." "I see," said the man. "Then the king has left you in charge of his kingdom; is that right?" "No, sir, he has left me in charge only of planting his fields," the servant responded." "What? You mean he has not left you in charge of his servants, or his money, or his armies?" "No sir, he has left me in charge only of planting his fields," the servant responded." "Well, that's strange," said the man, "because all the other kings leave their head servants in charge of everything."
With that, the servant began to wonder in his heart and to question the king's love for him. That evening he considered all that the man had said and became angry with his good master. Over the next week his anger turned into bitterness. It was then that the strange man appeared again at the castle door. He knocked loudly, and the servant answered the door.
Hello," said the man. "You know, I was wondering something. I have been wanting for some time to build a small cottage down by the river but have been unable to purchase the land. I thought that maybe, if you would give me permission to build my cottage, I would repay you by planting the fields myself, thereby allowing you to keep the money that the good king had given you to buy seed."
The servant thought for a while and considered the plan to be a good one that would allow him the opportunity to be rewarded for his being mistreated by the king. So he granted his permission.
But the strange man did not build a cottage; he built a castle- a stronghold. Upon completion of the castle, the man threw a huge party in honor of the servant. The wine flowed freely and the women were many. The music drove the party into a wild frenzy of evil activities. The servant was so overcome by this recognition and honor that he became proud and boastful and indulged in all of his heart's fantasies. Time passed, and the servant forgot about the good king and the fields that he was to plant. But the wicked man had not forgotten, for deep below the stronghold he planted the seeds of bitterness, greed, and sensuality. When these seeds began to grow, their roots spread throughout the entire kingdom. While they grew underground, the servant did not know what was happening. But when the plants started to spring from the ground, they brought forth all manner of evil fruit: anger, jealousy, bitterness, depression, anxiety, fear immorality, and more, When the servant saw the evil fruit, he ran to the stronghold and demanded to speak to the wicked man.
"What have you done to my master's fields?" he cried.
"They do not belong to your master anymore. They belong to me, I am the new king of this land." With that, he had the servant thrown from the castle. The servant was frantic and ran into the fields, trying to tear the plants from the ground. But no sooner had he torn them out than new plants appeared the next morning.
At last, after the servant had done all he could do, he sent word to the good king, admitting his sin and begging for the king's forgiveness and help. The king gladly forgave him and led his armies in an assault against the stronghold. He defeated the wicked man and uprooted the seeds of bitterness, greed, and sensuality. Once uprooted, the plants died, and the fields were again ready for the good seed. [Give Satan and inch and he will be a ruler.]
References: Gothard Newsletter, Oak Brook, Ill. Eph. 4:24-6:9, Mt. 18:24.
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