It was the third day into the journey when Justus realized that he was traveling in territory that he had never seen before. Three hours before the young man had passed the mark of the farthest east he had ever traveled, and then he had traveled with his mentor. Now he journeyed alone, or at least it appeared that he was alone. In his possession Justus had three gifts his mentor had given to him.
Justus had traveled the countryside with him for almost seven years. Great crowds believed he was some sort of good teacher, a traveling Wiseman, imparting a standard of morality and a philosophy by which people should live. While the great crowds loved him, the mentor’s enemies said that was evil. His miracles they claimed were the result of black magic and that he was in league with a demon from the very depths of hell. Rumors spread through out the country, but Justus was one of the few who were permitted to know the truth. The mentor was no ordinary man, but rather he was the Son of the King beyond the eastern horizon, the Prince of the Majestic Kingdom that no living eye has seen, and the Lord of all the kings of that world and this world. Justus didn’t know why he was chosen, along with his fellow companions, to know the truth, but he was glad that he was. It seemed quite odd to him that others did not recognize the Great Prince because to Justus the sings seemed to be quite obvious.
Four days ago was the last time Justus saw the Prince. One by one each of his followers were called, and each one went. What they were told or given Justus does not know, all he knows is what he was told and what he was given. Justus was the last follower to come before the Lord.
“Justus I have a task for you to complete.”
The young man sat at his Master’s feet and answered, “Lord, I am willing to do whatever You ask me to do.”
The Great Prince raised eyebrow, as if He was partly amused by the answer, and then He smiled a great toothy smile which conveyed both love and pride for the young man. “I know your heart is willing to go, that has never been in question, but your flesh may say something different. You must constantly be on guard against the demands of your flesh, do not let them crowd out the truth in your heart.”
Justus nodded, even after spending so much time with the Prince, Justus still did not understand everything that He said. There always seemed to be an element of mystery to His teachings.
“I want you to travel to Mount Alabaster, the great peak looking over the vast Eastern Ocean.”
“Lord, I want to do something amazing for you. Though it is a great distance it is an easy task if one is prepared.”
At these words the Lord smiled again. Oh, how He did love Justus’ heart, but He knew far too well the intentions of his flesh. Justus still had very much to learn.
“Justus, do not count something as easy before you have accomplished it. Something that may look easy on this side may indeed look very difficult on the other side. One cannot know all the trials, pitfall, and snares that await on such a long journey.”
Again Justus only nodded as he tried to make sense of what the Lord had said.
“Before you begin your journey I want you to travel to Leitha, the town of your birth. In the center of town stands a majestic old oak tree. On the north side of the tree is a hole, and buried in the hole is a box.”
“What is in the box my Lord?”
The Prince chuckled, “Patience, Justus, Patience. I was coming to that. The box is a gift I have specially prepared for you to take on your journey. Inside you will find three items, each one is designed to help you complete the task I have given to you.”
There was a strange excitement that welled up in Justus’ heart. He could hardly wait to go and find his box and discover the great gift his Lord had promised to him. Yet there was also a sadness that began to creep in as Justus began to realize that he was making this journey alone.
“Aren’t you coming with me?”
The Great Prince’s face fell. “No my son. I have other work that needs to be done. I have sent each of you out to complete a task, but you will not be going alone. The gift I am giving you contains My Spirit. My presence will be with you wherever you go as long as you hold on to the gift.”
Comforted, Justus stood up, walked over to the Prince, threw his arms around him and hugged him goodbye. The Great Prince, with tears in his eyes, hugged Justus back and whispered in his ear, “You are my servant, my friend, and my brother, and with you I am very pleased. Now you must go.”
Justus gathered his things and headed west, into the setting sun towards his home.
Filled with excitement and with familiarity of the country Justus continued to walk into the night. It was in the early morning when just finally decided to make a little camp and sleep.
It had only been dawn a couple of hours when Justus woke up and began his westward journey home. About the time everyone was cleaning up their breakfast dishes Justus walked into town. Though he wanted to, Justus did not stop to visit his friends, or even his parents. He went straight to the old oak tree in the middle of town. Justus stopped and looked at the old tree for a moment. It had been there for as long as people could remember, it was rumored to be even older than the town, and yet it looked as strong as ever. The young man couldn’t help but marvel at such a creation.
Breaking free from his trance Justus walked to the north side of the tree. At first he could not see a hole because he was looking for a large hole in the ground, but there was none. After a few minutes of walking around the entire tree in search of a hole in the ground Justus finally found it. The hole was not in the ground, but rather it was about eye level on the north side of the tree trunk. Tentatively Justus reached up into the hole, a little nervous that a squirrel might be ready to attack his fingers, and pulled out a box.
The box was no bigger than a shoebox, but it was made out of beautifully carved wood. The lid was attached to the box by two little hinges. Justus lifted the lid and looked inside. There he saw a silver flute, something which looked like a compass except it had no markings on it, and a silver and gold ring which looked like a band of silver and a band of gold had been twisted together to make the most unusually design and color.
“What am I supposed to do with these?” Justus wondered.
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