Monday, September 10, 2012

The Borrowed Line


"So I think this paper, which the Old Man of the Moon said he borrowed," the king said, "this written line torn from the Book of Fortune is 'the borrowed line' you seek."

"Of course," Minli said, and excitement bubbled inside of her, "it must be!" But her excitement popped as she looked at the carefully preserved page and remembered how the king had had it on his person, carefully and preciously kept in the pouch around his neck. It seemed impossible that he would give her such a cherished treasure.

"It was only after much study that my great-great-grandfather was able to decipher the words," the king said. "And that is when he realized that the words changed according to the situation at the time. From then on, whenever a King of the City of Bright Moonlight has had a problem, he consults the paper."

"And it tells you what to do?" Minli asked.

"Yes." ...And with that, the king looked down at the line. As he read, a startled expression came across his face.

"What does it say?" Minli asked.

"It says," the king said slowly, "'You only lose what you cling to.'"

The king's words seemed to hang in the air. All was silent except for the soft rustling of the page in the gentle breeze. Minli, unable to speak, watched it flutter as if it were waving at her.

"So it seems your request," the king said, "deserves consideration. The line tells me as much. Let me think."

Minli looked at the king, quiet but puzzled.

"For generations, my family has prized this paper; we have honored it... It has been passed on and studied and cherished and revered. It has been valued above gold or jade... we guard and protect this written line so dearly that the rulers of the City of Bright Moonlight carry it at all times, not daring to let it out of their possession... We have clung to it, always afraid of losing it," the king said. "But if I choose to release it, there is no loss... And perhaps it was never meant for us to cling to..."

"You only lose what you cling to," the king repeated to himself. He glanced again at the paper and then looked at Minli. A serene expression settled on his face and then he quietly smiled and said, "So, by choosing to give you the line, I do not lose it."

~from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin

Reading aloud to my children,
I was reminded again of a truth I need reminding of.
"Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, 
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, 
and loses his own soul?"

There was something else He said, too, that came to mind.
"Provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old,
a treasure in the heavens that does not fail,
where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

The other day I was reading
about a terrible judgment the Lord passed on Israel.
It was frightening.
He described such utter devastation, and He told them why.
"...Your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of My sight.
Give up your evil ways.
Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed. 
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
'Come now, let's settle this,' says the Lord.
'Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.
If you will only obey Me, you will have plenty to eat..."

I read an article yesterday with this headline:
Banks Were The Worst Place To Keep Your Savings This Year.
The conclusion of the article was this:
"Going forward, in a twisted world of inflation,
massive government deficits
and interest rate manipulation by the Federal Reserve,
it may be extremely challenging for any asset class
to provide a positive real rate of return
to either investors or bank depositors."
What an opportunity.

I see advice everywhere on how to survive by clinging.
By stockpiling.
By building a bigger barn.
But that advice will end in ruin.
In devastation.
And the Lord has said before that if we will obey Him in this,
we will eat.

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