Tad and Brenda sat across the desk from their father’s estate attorney. They listened as he explained how the inheritance would be divided between them.
“As you two know, your father was worth over ten million dollars between this home, the business, his stock and bank accounts. However, he has decided to leave the entire estate to only one of you.”
The two siblings shouted “What?”
Tad continued. “It must be me since I’m the firstborn. Right, Jack?”
“No. He decided to make it a contest.” He slid two envelopes across the desk, one to each of them. “The same clue is in each of these envelopes. You will both be given one hour in the library, separately, to locate the key to the mansion. The first one to find it will be given the entire inheritance. You have five minutes to decide which one of you will go first, which is a big advantage.”
“I am the firstborn so I should go first! I’m the one who helped Dad with the business while he was so sick with the cancer.”
Brenda could have argued that she deserved to go first since she was the one who spent the last six months taking care of their father day and night, cooking meals, helping him with baths, clothing him and driving him to and from chemo and radiation appointments; but she didn’t. She simply said, “Okay, you’re right – you should go first.”
Jack led Tad into the library. He pulled on a gold chain protruding from his pant pocket, revealing a stop-watch. “When I say ‘Go’ you can open your clue and get started. You will have exactly one hour. Understand?” Tad nodded.
Tad ripped open the envelope. Inside was a single piece of paper with the words THE KEY IS IN THE BOOKENDS written on it. He hurriedly scanned the room for bookends.
The room was filled with shelves from floor to ceiling; each shelf fully stocked with written volumes. Methodically, he searched each bookcase for bookends, but found none. About forty-five minutes into his search, he noticed one shelf had identical books on either end. At closer look, he saw that they were both King James Version Bibles.
Opening the front covers he found nothing. Turning quickly to the back covers, he found a piece of paper in each Bible; both having scripture references written on them.
The one read DEUTERONOMY 6:5, the other LEVITICUS 19:18. Thinking the key to the mansion would be hidden at the scripture location in one of these two Bibles, he used up several minutes looking in the Table of Contents to find the pages where they were written. Disgusted the key was not in either book, without reading the scriptures, he shoved the Bibles back on the shelf and started scanning the room again.
Jack entered the library. “Time’s up!”
“This is ridiculous!” Tad yelled, knocking over a bookshelf in his anger. Two security guards, on duty in case of an episode like this, led him out of the room. His only hope now was if Brenda failed to find the key.
After setting the library in order again, the lawyer brought Brenda in. He gave her the same instructions, including shouting “go!”
She opened the envelope, scanned the room and after thirty minutes found the same two Bibles and pieces of paper. Skipping the Table of Contents, she turned directly to the scriptures, reading both in total. She knew immediately their significance.
On the walls throughout the room hung many framed posters containing various quotes from the Bible. One particular poster stood out to Brenda. On it were the words: ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS – MATTHEW 22:37-40 (KJV). She pulled it from the wall and found another envelope taped to the back. Inside was a note wrapped around a single key:
I knew you would be the one to find the key. Your knowledge of God and the Bible will help you succeed in all aspects of life. But, most of all I know you will do the right thing and divide the inheritance equally with your brother. This will also allow you to witness to him about the love of God and the power of His written word. I will visit you in your mansion in heaven someday. I love you.
She smiled, while a single tear escaped. “I love you too, Dad.”
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