“His name was Aaron.” The white-haired man spoke in the hypnotic tones of an experienced storyteller. “Not only did he posses great wealth, but he had also replaced his father as a ruler in the town. He was well respected across the region of Judea by men twice his age.” The storyteller stroked his wispy beard as his audience wriggled to find a more comfortable position on the split wood floor of the inn.
“Aaron was a respected citizen, he took care of his widowed mother and sister, gave alms to the poor, and offered at the synagogue. He learned from the wisest Pharisees the details of the foretold Messiah. Since he was a young boy, Aaron had watched for the coming of the Messiah.” A cough interrupted the Storyteller’s monologue.
“Rumors had been spreading through Judea of a teacher from Nazareth who spoke with the authority and wisdom of Jehovah. The young man was preparing a trip to Galilee to search for the teacher when word came that the Nazarene had arrived unexpectedly in their town. Upon receiving the news, Aaron ran from a meeting of the town elders to find him. The Teacher and his disciples were bidding farewell to a noisy crowd of women and children when Aaron reached them.”
“What did he say?” A child asked breathlessly from the foot of the storyteller.
“Quiet child, let him finish.” The father instructed, placing a work-roughened hand on his son’s shoulder. The innkeeper had yet to appear, but the family of travelers was so entranced with the story that no one noticed.
Clearing his throat, the storyteller resumed speaking, “Aaron walked right up to the teacher and asked the question that had been on his heart for almost thirty years.”
“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."
"Which ones?" the man inquired.
Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
“Aaron heard the words of the Teacher as he walked away, head hung in despair. How could he give up his wealth, his responsibility, to follow a wandering teacher? Was the teacher even the Messiah? And so he walked away.” The storyteller ended in a whisper.
“That is the end?” Questioned the child in near panic, “What happened to Aaron?”
“My child, that is not for us to know,” answered the Storyteller. “Aaron had to choose between the wealth and abundance of this life or treasures stored in heaven. Each of us must make the same choice of when we want the bulk of our wealth and success: now or in eternity.”
A loud noise startled the listeners as the worn door to the stable banged open. “Welcome travelers, to my inn,” the rotund innkeeper said with a condescending smile. “Have their horses been taken care of?” He bellowed at the Storyteller.
The old man rose feebly to do his bidding. The burly innkeeper grabbed the storytellers arm, “And Aaron, stop pestering travelers with stories of that Nazarene, he is dead.”
“Not anymore,” stated the wizened old man with conviction as he shuffled away to do his masters bidding.
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