We judge from the parable of our Lord that a disobedient son was a very ancient trial. The father in the parable had a vineyard. The time had come to irrigate it, to cultivate it, and to prune it. So he said to one of his sons, "Son, go work to day in my vineyard." (Matt. 21:28.) He answered, All right, father; I'll go. But he went not. Then the father said to the second son, "Son, go work to day in my vineyard." He answered, I will not! I have done my share of work in that vineyard. Let my older brother take his share of it! I am through with the vineyard. And with that, he jammed his hat on his head, slammed the door, and walked out on the street.
Pierre Barlot was a gunner in the fort of Mont Valerin during the Prussian siege of Paris. One day he was standing by his gun when General Noel, the commander, came up and leveled his glass at the Sevres bridge. "Gunner," he said, "do you see the Sevres bridge over there?" "Yes, sir." "And that little shanty in a thicket of shrubs to the left?" "I see it, sir," said Pierre, turning pale. "It's a nest of Prussians; try it with a shell, my man." Pierre turned paler still. He sighted his piece deliberately, carefully, then fired it. "Well hit, my man, well hit!" exclaimed the general. But as he looked at Pierre he was surprised to see a great tear running down the gunner's cheek. "What's the matter, man?" "Pardon me, General," said Pierre, "it was my house—everything I had in the world."—The Sunday School Chronicle.
Somewhere I have read a little story of a child in a woodland camp whose father sent him with a letter to the village, pointing out a trail over which the lad had never gone before. "All right, father, but I don't see how that path will ever reach the town," said the boy. "Do you see the trail as far as the big tree down there?" answered the man. "Oh, yes, I see that far." "Well, when you get there by the tree you'll see the trail a little farther ahead, and so on until you get within sight of the houses of the village." There is in our pilgrimage of faith an element of sheer faith, not seeing.—Sunday School Times, Frederick Robertson (Brighton).
A Karen convert in Burmah who was taken to America, was asked to address a meeting upon their obligation to send out missionaries. After a moment of thought he asked with a good deal of meaning, "Has not Christ told you to do it?" "Oh, yes," was the reply, "but we wish you to remind them of their duty." "Oh, no," said the Karen, "if they will not mind Jesus Christ, they will not mind me!"—The Biblical Illustrator
James T. White has said that perhaps the most effective illustration of obedience is the reply of the mother of George Washington made at the banquet given to the allied officers after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. A distinguished French officer asked Washington's mother how she managed to rear such a splendid son. She replied, "I taught him to obey.—S. S. World.
The late Rev. J. H. Jowett said he saw seventy Salvation Army officers receive their commission for foreign service. Not one of them had any idea where the command would send him—whether to Africa, or India, or Brazil, or to a crowded city in Japan. When each man received his commission, he welcomed it with a salute.—Christian Herald.
A Persian legend runs that a certain king needed a faithful servant, and two men were candidates for the office. He took both at fixed wages, and his first order was to fill a basket with water from a neighboring well, saying that he would come in the evening and see their work. After putting in one or two bucketfuls, one man said, "What is the good of doing this useless work? As soon as we put the water in one side it runs out the other." The other answered, "But we have our wages, haven't we? The use is the master's business, not ours." "I am not going to do such fool's work," replied the other. Throwing down his bucket, he went away. The other man continued until he had exhausted the well; looking down into it he saw something shining—a diamond ring. "Now I see the use of pouring water into a basket," he cried. "If the bucket had brought up the ring before the well was emptied, it would have been found in the basket. Our work was not useless." Christians must believe that their divine Master knows what is best, and obey His commands, and in due time they will know and understand.—Christian Herald.
When I was a boy on the farm, my father once told me to do a certain thing one day that I really did not like to do. He went to town, and I noticed that our barn door needed paint. I knew where there was a can of red paint and a new brush. I tried my hand at painting that door. I did a good job, but when my father came home, well—I do not need to tell you about it! It was not a precious memory! I performed a service, but I did not do the thing that my father left for me to do. So with the Christian: he will be rewarded, not for doing the thing that he wants to do, but for doing the thing that Christ left him here to do—to fulfill the great commission.—The King's Business.
Some few years ago a university student was listening to a Bible reading on the first chapter of Genesis. The speaker described God in His work of turning chaos into cosmos, and he played on the word "let"—"And God said, Let there be light; and there was light," and urged his hearers to "let God." This young man went home with the Word of God ringing in his ears and he could not get rid of them. He carved them out in wooden letters, threaded them on a string and hung them in his dressing room. "Let God!" But how could he "let God"? It meant so much. And then one morning in desperation he banged his bathroom door as he went out, saying, "I cannot let God." When he came back the "d" from his legend was missing and it read, "Let go." And he saw his difficulty. He saw the thing to which he was clinging, which kept him from blessing, and he "let go" and "let God." —Courtesy Moody Monthly.
What trained ears a captain needs! To hear the different signals in a fog and so to know his position. To hear and read an echo. A ship was in a fog on one of the Canadian lakes. The captain's face suddenly became tense, then perplexed. He rang for slowed engines, then for reversed engines. The whistle shrieked, but no answer came. "There's something dead ahead," he declared, "I get an echo from something." Just then the fog lifted a little, and not ten feet from the bow was a huge steel scow which had broken loose from harbor and drifted. A landman said he had heard no echo. The captain chuckled. "It's a matter of an educated hearing. God gave us ears, but we don't always train them."—Sunday School Times.