One upon a time in a land far, far away in the province of Malcontent, there was a kingdom called Potential Mayhem. Living in a nearby vineyard was a young man named Gino who seemed very submissive, willing to help in anyway possible.
“You need help, I’m your guy,” he often said to the King’s men as they came by to deliver the king's commands.
One morning, Ian, the royal 'Bearer of Bad News' approached Gino and said, “The King commands you to clean the royal gutters.”
“I’ll get right on it,” Gino said with a smile as he ran to his barn to retrieve a ladder. “Anything for the King.”
Once the royal horse thundered out of his yard, the ladder was replaced and Gino sat down for a delightful bowl of fresh frozen peas with a hint of oregano.
Guiseppi, his father came to him later in the day as said, “Gino, I need you to feed the cattle.”
“Yes, Father,” Gino rose from his chair with a smile.
His father was barely out of sight when Gino sat back down to contemplate conjugated verbs and other unexplained literary phenomena. “Let’s see is this verb indicative, subjunctive or imperative? Ah, I give up!”
“Gino!” came the call of his mother, Josephine.
“Yes, Mama,” Gino replied as he ran toward the house.
“I need you to go to town and trade some of our grapes for a few eggs,” Josephine said as she rubbed a stray pea from the face of her son.
“Mama,” Gino replied in embarrassment.
“So you will do this thing for me?” Josephine asked.
“Of course,” Gino said with a hurt look in his eyes.
“It is settled then,” Josephine said as she wiped her hands on his apron and walked back in the house. “It is your sister, Corinna’s birthday and I need the eggs for the cake. Hurry now!”
“All right, Mama,” Gino chuckled as he walked out the gate of the Hascalletti Villa. It wasn’t long before he got sidetracked and forgot all about the eggs as his friends invited him to join them in a high stakes game of “Rock - Paper - Scissors.
“Lucky sevens,” he said as he pitched the dice. The numbers didn’t seem to favor Gino and he left with no grapes to trade.
He was headed home when he heard the sound of rain. He raced homeward as quickly as possible, changing clothes and asking his mother for something warm to drink.
“Where are the eggs?” Mama asked him.
“Uh, the rain, I couldn’t get to town,” Gino lied.
“What am I gonna tell Corinna?” Mama clucked her tongue and waved her hands in broad sweeping gestures of frustration.
“Gino!” his father called, “Didn’t you feed the cattle?”"
“Well…” Gino began.
“They were so hungry they broke through the gate and trampled Mallorini’s garden,” Papa replied with mounting frustration.
Suddenly horses thundered into the outer courtyard. “We call forth Gino Hascalletti,” a voice rang.
Gino’s face went pale as he walked out the front door of the villa, “We’re you not commanded to clean the King‘s gutter?”
Gino simply hung his head.
“With today’s rain, the king now stands in water in the royal palace,” the man’s jaws clinched in a tight dance of anger.
“I am sorry,” Gino said dropping his arms to his side.
There was no cake, a broken gate and a flooded palace - promises made and broken.
Gino learned a hard lesson - and a very public one. The town crier was heard every hour, “It’s three o’clock and all is well except for the recent incident when Gino Hascalletti refused to obey the King’s command and left the king to look for a shop-vac - not to mention a nasty garden trampling by famished bovines and an eggless cake. More public humiliation in an hour!”
In the end, we stand like Gino as disobedient servants who have let others down. We have also let ourselves down - we have let our King down. The good news is God will not stand and proclaim our disobedience to all who would listen but He will continue calling us to obey.
When He calls, how will be your heart respond?
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