A Final Story of a Hope-Seeker and Hope-Giver

Since we opened with a story, let’s close with a story. This is from my book “The Way of Prosperity” and is a good example of a Hope-Seeker working with a Hope-Giver. My hope is that we will be both.

The Story Begins…
A young man walked in the hills with a troubling thought: God didn’t mean for my life to be this way. It shouldn’t be such a struggle for me and my family. There has to be another way, but what is it?

After returning home, he shared his thoughts with his wife, Rebecca, “There has to be more to life than just watching the desert and our lives dry up. Why would God allow such a disaster?”

Rebecca gave her husband a look of concern, “Jason, my love, why are you always so restless?”

Jason’s voice cracked with the weight of his desperation, “It is the curse of this barren land, isn’t God supposed to take care of these things?”

“Do you really think God has deserted us?” Rebecca said softly.

“Perhaps things are the way they are, because you think they are that way. We’ve had drought before and somehow we made it though. Maybe the change we need rests in you.”

He didn’t like hearing that he might be responsible, but it was hard to be upset with her because of her gentle way. But that didn’t stop him from protesting.

“Nothing can grow here, not even me. I am a failure to myself and my family. Why did you ever marry me?”

“You silly man, I married you because you are my love and because I saw great promise in your eyes. Even if you don’t believe in yourself, I believe in you and I know you will figure it out.”

“Having promise simply means that I possess talents or abilities, but does that feed my family? Does promise buy the things we need?”

Now, Rebecca was a wise woman -- wise enough to know that her husband was wrestling with something that she couldn’t help him with. This something was a task he must do on his own. She knew he needed someone else to guide him and show him the way to get his answers. Although she would never consider him a failure of any kind, she suggested that he go back to her village of Betheden and talk to a friend of her father’s. Everyone called this man the Master of Betheden, not only because he was the wealthiest man in the region, but also because he was one of the wisest Elders of that city.

Rebecca looked deep into her husbands eyes, “Very few great men have ever made it on their own; seek support from those whose talents exceed yours.” She then kissed his forehead and left the room.

The following morning, Jason mounted his camel and set out for his wife’s village of Betheden. It took him a day and a half through hard terrain before he reached the village, but this gave him time to think.

During the long ride, he rehearsed what he would say when he saw his father-in-law, Nahum, who was a practical and prosperous man. Jason believed that Nahum would be proud to learn that his daughter’s husband was so determined to create a prosperous life for his family.

Rebecca had grown up in this well-populated village of Betheden with rich, well-cultivated soil and prosperous merchants. The secrets that the Master of Betheden had learned many years ago had caused good fortune to smile upon the entire town. From his camel, Jason looked around with thoughts of envy, but he let them go long enough to find  his father-in-law.

After asking a few of the villagers, he found Nahum in the market, selling his goatskins. Nahum was pleased to see his son-in-law and when Jason told the older man of his plans,  he was even more pleased. Nahum scratched his beard and said, “Yes, what my daughter says is true. I know the Master. He is the wisest elder in the land and advises  us all. I will write a letter of introduction for you, but you must agree to do everything he says. Good advice should never be wasted.”

Jason nodded in agreement with his father-in-law’s condition. “I am willing to do whatever is required of me.”

With the letter of introduction in hand, Jason set out to visit the wealthiest man in the land. When he reached the gate of the Master’s home, a young servant greeted him, then  ushered him into a lush garden, and motioned for him to sit on a nearby bench. While waiting for his meeting, Jason rehearsed all he would say and how he would present himself, but it was hard to keep his mind on these things with such beauty and abundance all around him. He felt confident that the Master would take pity on him and grant his request.

The Teacher walked into the garden and stood before the young man. After rising to greet him properly, Jason was struck by the Master’s incredible stature. His confidence and personal presence demanded respect and yet, Jason felt safe and welcomed standing there before him.

Looking down into the eyes of the young man, the Master said, “I’ve read your letter. Now tell me why you are here.” This man’s voice was deep and melodious, like the sound of a flute carved from the strongest tree.

Forgetting everything he had planned, Jason nervously stammered, “My wife thought that I should come and talk to you about how I can create a prosperous life...”

But before he could say any more, the rich man raised his hand to stop the young man, “No. I’m not interested in helping you.” And with that he turned and re-entered his house.

Shocked and embarrassed, Jason returned home. With a broken spirit, he told his wife what had happened. She listened and then said, “Why don’t you think about your answer  and try again. I know this man. He is a fair man; and I think if you had a better answer to his question, he might be willing to help you. If he receives you when you go to talk to him, then fine. If he turns you away, you haven’t lost anything.”

Reluctantly, a few days later, the young man made the long trip back to his wife’s village. He didn’t want to see his father-in-law because he was ashamed, so he went straight to the Master’s house. He was once again ushered into the lush garden, where he sat on the same bench and waited for the rich man to arrive.

The beauty of the garden no longer distracted him; he had much bigger things on his mind. Finally, he heard the sound of the door to the Master’s house opening and watched the man cross his garden and greet him once more.

“Now, tell me,” he said in a stern voice. “Why you are here?"

“I need to provide for my family so I need to know…”

Again, before he could continue any further, the rich man told him to stop, turned his back on him and said, “I’m not interested in helping you” and walked off.

Dejected and hurt so much more than the first time, Jason returned to his wife. Wisely, Rebecca encouraged him to keep trying. “You have not sufficiently answered his question, my love, that’s all. Think not about what you will say, but what he has asked. Try again, my dear, I know you will figure it out.”

Once more, shy and embarrassed, Jason returned to the town of the rich man, thinking that this time he might have a more suitable presentation. He was ushered into the garden and asked to wait for the nobleman.

The Master walked over and stood before him and, looking into his eyes, said, “Now, tell me why you are here.”

“I want to be wealthy and respected, a business man, like you.”

And once again before he could go any further, the rich man said, “I’m not interested in helping you” and left.

Jason no longer felt helpless or dejected, this time he was angry. He felt he had done everything. He didn’t talk to his wife when he returned home.

Rebecca waited patiently for him to talk to her and finally, after several days, he told her what had happened. She knew his pride was damaged, but she also knew that he had to get over it. She comforted him and then lovingly reminded him that the rich man had not told him to leave or that he could never return, and maybe that meant that there was still a chance he could talk with him again.

For the next few days Jason frequently went to sit under his favorite oak tree where he would go to find wisdom when he needed it. He searched his heart in every manner he  could for the correct answer.

When he grew tired of brooding, he told Rebecca his plan, “Alright, I will try once more, but this is the last time. My camel is tired and so am I.”

He rode to the village of the wealthy man and again was ushered into the lush garden. He sat in his special seat, until the nobleman stood across from him and said, “Now, tell me why you are here.”

With confidence and strength in his voice, he looked straight into the nobleman’s eyes, “I want to reach my full potential in every area of my life, and I’ve come to ask you for guidance.”

The rich man stared back into Jason’s eyes for several moments in silence. Then he said the words Jason so desperately wanted to hear,

“Good. It sounds like you might be ready.”

The Master sat down on the bench beside him. “I’ll help you now, because I can see in your eyes that you finally understand.”

Although Jason was relieved, he was also confused. His confusion must have showed on his face because the Master then explained to him, “When you first came here, you said that your wife had asked you to come. That wasn’t enough. The decision to find out about yourself has to be your own idea, not from someone else.”

The older man’s tone softened as he continued, “Then, the next time you came, you said that you wanted to be able to provide for and protect your family. Once again, that’s not enough. It may seem noble, but it’s something you wanted for others and not for youself.

Next you said you wanted to make money and you wanted to be respected. Still, your search was based upon opinions and recognition of and by others and that will never be enough. But this time when you said you wanted to do it for yourself, that is something I can work with, that is the passion that you need if you really want to learn. You can’t help others until you have something to give to them. Your desire, your passion, your purpose must be your own and not belong to another. You have finally discovered this I think, and that is why I will now help you.”

He stood up and summoned his servant. “Please come into the house. I will make you some tea, and we will begin.”

Jason followed the Master into his home. Thus, began his training. He would now become the apprentice.

When a Hope-Seeker finds a Hope-Giver the world becomes a better place. Let’s do our best to become both!

Now you have finished reading, but that’s not the end. We need to continue this conversation, continue the building of a new way to market, a new way of mutually benefit from commerce.

Go to http://www.dukeclarke.com/blog/ and let me and everyone else know what you think.

Together we can sort this out. Together we can help each know what is going on in the Internet world the good, the bad and the ugly. I have posted this paper in sections there and will be adding thoughts and information as it comes up.

So let’s form our own Hope-Seeker/Hope-Giver community and see where it takes us.

God’s best to you in all that you do…
Duke Arthur Clarke