The story is told of a time, long ago, when two young farm boys, each helping their father, saw the King’s royal procession coming walking by for the first time. The lads, both younger than twelve, stood and peered through the fence as the knights on horseback were followed by footmen, and the train seem to go on forever until, near the center, a lavishly decorated coach came by. Around it walked heavily armored guards, in all their splendor with their big swords and shields at their sides.
“When I grow up, I want to be just like one of them,” Jacob said. Acting out each part, he continued, “I could fight of the evil black knight, rescue the fair damsel, and be king of the mountain!” Losing his balance, he tumbled down the small pile of dirt that he had mounted.
“Some knight you’d be,” his friend, Lance snickered. “I think you’ve heard too many stories. My dad says that there is no damsel, or anything like that, and all these knight guys get to do is stand around and sweat, and then they end up dying for some guy they never see, unless they get some reward for being injured or something.”
“Oh yeah? Well, my dad has told me stories of valiant knights, and glorious battles, and–”
“And that’s all they are, stories,” Lance finished. As they were going back and forth, Lance’s mother called him home, and the discussion ceased.
Many years later, there was a war in the land. A king from many miles away had attacked a weak position in the outskirts of the kingdom. Many brave souls fought hard and long, and
as such, new people were called in to serve their king and kingdom. Among them, two men, who long ago had formed their opinions of service for the king.
“I can’t believe this! I have a farm to work, a wife to take care of– I don’t have time to be off fighting battles,” an older Lance complains to a group of men called into service.
“But it is our duty, our service to one that has guided and protected all of us for so long. It is the least that we can do,” replied a voice in the shadow. Getting up, it was Jacob. “I would most gladly give my life for the king.”
“For what? A medal? A pat on the back?” Lance questioned.
“Yeah, I mean, he never comes by my house!” Another states.
“And where is he now? Not even here to help us in training, he’s off somewhere guarded and protected!” Still another replied. “While we’re dying on his battlefield, he’s drinking wine in his castle.”
“And none of us will be able to enjoy anything if the enemy makes us his slaves,” replied Jacob.
“You know, he’s right,” another one voiced, “We at least have to try.”
“Not I. I’m only here because I have to be,” finished Lance. The conversation ended, as training picked up again.
Days passed before they were ready, and when they were, they were suited and armored and ready for battle. They each got a horse and road out to the place that they had last heard of the enemy being, and found their own camp. Settling down that night, they awaited what would happen the next day.
It came bright and early, and with it the enemy. It was too late to mount horses, for there was a sneak attack. The men that had come to fight only because they had to ran, and were chased down by horses. Lance fell at the sword of the leader, as he was making what he thought was an unobserved getaway. The man who realized his duty fell fighting many men on foot, and took many with him. And Jacob, as he was fighting, took many of the enemies, and fought valiantly.
More of the kings men came in behind, and overtook the enemy which was defeated. Jacob, wounded and mangled, was taken back to see his king before passing on into eternity himself. As the king looked into the eyes of the man that willingly gave of his life to him, Jacob smiled, knowing that he had done his best, and had served with all of his heart.
A question for you, Christian. Which category of knights do you fall into? Are you the kind that’s there because it’s a free ticket to heaven– to escape eternal destruction? Are you the kind that has to be convinced of its benefits for you individually, that it makes sense to you before you serve? Or, are you the kind that is out there trying to please the King with all of your heart, soul, and mind and wanting to give your all at His feet just for a simple “Well done, good and faithful servant?” What is your primary motivation? What is it that really counts in your life? Where is your focus, love and adoration?