Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)
TITLE: A Father's Script
By Joanna Stricker
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“They are your library’s most valuable!” Jachin argued.
“Jachin, they must go. You will know what to do with them. I fear their safety in the days ahead; you must get them out of Jerusalem.”
Jachin knew Abi was right, but to leave in his master’s final days—if he was here, he might be able to ease Abi’s passing.
Jachin thought of the scrolls: the prophets’ writings were his favorite, along with firsthand accounts written by the disciples. Since his first day of service, he’d had responsibility for the vessels that held the scrolls. The early years had been difficult; travel was inherent to Abi’s calling. Persecution also followed those who proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah. Those who had met Jesus before His ascension, as his master had, were reviled and labeled as trouble-makers. Many were unable to accept the testimony of the Christians. When the truth of the scrolls was added to the message, a choice had to be made—defy man…or God?
Now his master was asking him to take some of the oldest, most precious manuscripts, out of the city, away from the turmoil and strife that plagued Jerusalem.
“Where will I go, where will I take them?” A lump rose in Jachin’s throat.
“Come here, son.” Jachin went to Abi’s side and knelt. It was an honor that this man called him, son—he, a mere servant. He had been a miserable boy when he had joined his master’s service, a fatherless boy who had recently lost a mother.
Now, as he often did, Abi spoke directly to Jachin’s thoughts, “As you know, I too never had a father. But we are not fatherless. Remember—our heavenly Father’s love and care for us exceeds any that an earthly father could offer.”
Jachin nodded his head; he did know. Moreover, his heavenly Father had been preparing his heart for over a year with the awareness that the day of Abi’s death was approaching. The knowledge eased the pain, but there was still grief.
Abi was silent for a moment. When he spoke again, his words carried an added weight.
“When the time comes, you will know what to do with the writings. And Jachin…” he paused.
Jachin looked up; Abi was looking at him intently, “We have seen many who endured pain, sorrow and death for the sake of Christ. I know you expect comparable hardships for your future, but this is not your fate.”
Jachin opened his mouth to protest, but Abi’s raised hand stopped him.
“This is not to be your fate. But you will be one who spreads the gospel until the day of your death. You will travel many miles, but do not be afraid to settle. Let the Lord guide you as to the time to move on.”
When Abi reached out and rested his hands on Jachin’s head, Jachin started but did not pull away. Tears ran freely down his cheeks. His master was giving him the greatest honor a father could give—his blessing.
Abi closed his eyes and continued, “I see you with a wife and children.” They both choked up at this proclamation—knowing Jachin had long ago given up on the dream of having a family.
“The manuscripts will be preserved for future generations. Though they are not near at hand, you will never be empty of the words they contain. The Lord has written them into your heart and mind. Men will search for you because of this gift, and He will stir you to speak the Word to many.” There was another pause. “And…you will have a son. He will follow in your footsteps—to proclaim the Word of the Lord to future generations.”
Abi opened his eyes and removed his hands.
“Now, Jachin, go now. Perhaps the Lord will give you leave to return before the end.” Jachin nodded his assent, gathered the scripts and set out on his journey.
It was three days before Jachin found the manuscripts’ final resting place. He was near the Dead Sea when he saw a suspicious-looking caravan approaching. Knowing the dangers associated with marauding groups of men, he took shelter in a cave. Suddenly he knew. This was where the Lord wanted him to leave the writings. He hid them, waited for the band to pass and took swift steps back to Jerusalem.
“Jachin! You made it! With time to spare—surely the Lord has shed His blessings upon us both!”
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