Friday, 23 January 2015

The Story of The Other Wise Man

This would have been a great story to read at Christmas, but my friend just loaned it to me.  And it is a powerful story for any time of year.
A very old story!  Written in 1895.
Short and thought-provoking.

The author, Henry Van Dyke, was born in 1852, graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and taught English literature at Princeton for 25 years.
This book was published in 1895 and has been the subject of three operas, a play, a T.V. movie, a painting, a children's story and you can find it on YouTube.

The story is about Artaban, the fourth wise man who was following the signs in the sky, searching for the King that was born among the Jews.
He had sold everything he had, in order to prepare for the journey. But along the way, he stopped to help people in trouble and ended up using the treasure and missing the the caravan with the other wise men.  He continued searching for many years and ended up in Jerusalem just in time for the crucifixion of Jesus.
He had just saved a woman from being sold into slavery when he was struck on the head by a falling roof tile.  He had been feeling that he had wasted his life, since he did not accomplish the great dream of his life- to find the Christ.
But then he heard a voice say," Verily, I say unto thee, inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou has done it unto me".

There's a great moral to this little parable.
The author never felt like it was his story, didn't know where the idea came from.  He felt that it was a gift to him and now it is a gift to us.

3 more interesting things about VanDyke:
1.) He was a friend of Helen Keller, who wrote of his great kindness.  
2.) He said. "I'm not an optimist.  There's too much evil in the world and in me.  Nor am I a pessimist; there is too much good in the world and in God.  So I am just a meliorist, believing that He wills to make the world better, and trying to do my bit to help and wishing that it were more".
3.) VanDyke was a poet and I like this particular poem:

"Time is
Too slow for those who Wait,
Too swift for those who Fear,
Too long for those who Grieve,
Too short for those who Rejoice,
But for those who Love,
Time is not."

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