JT walked for a few days until he came close to the ocean. As he came close he saw people pulling carts full of firewood past him.
It was not odd that only firewood was in the cart. However, it was strange to see so many carts that had nothing else but firewood. Normally people would come to town selling fish, vegetables, livestock or firewood. This was just firewood, and it all seemed to be traveling the same direction.
JT continued all the rest of that day and it continued, with cart after cart of firewood heading all the same direction. Finally a town came into sight, and coming down the road from the other direction were more carts filled with firewood.
Then as he walked into town, JT noticed the carts were lined up stretching all the way down to the docks by the seaside. He didn’t have anything else to do, so he decided to investigate and see why the carts were all lined up.
At the end of the dock was a large sailing ship that appeared to be in the process of loading the firewood. As he watched, he found that when a cartload of wood was unloaded, the captain allowed the driver of the cart to board the ship. Then the process would be repeated.
At the side of the dock, he saw a sea captain talking to a group of people on the dock. “We leave at sunset today,” he smiled at the bunch of people around him. “If you bring as much firewood as you can carry, you can board my ship.”
There was a scrambling, and the crowd surrounding the sea captain disappeared quickly. Soon, the sea captain stood alone with his hands on his hips, watching the unloading of the carts.
JT found the vendors, selling food to the crowd, and found a job helping to sell the food, so that he could also enjoy the food as well as see what was happening with the sailing ship. After quite a while, the end of the line of carts was in view and behind them were men and women carrying huge loads of wood. Some had it bundled on their back, and some were dragging it along behind them.
The cart drivers, still in line, looked behind them and started to grumble. “What are they doing? It took me quite a while to get a cartload of wood. Here they are with barely a tenth of what I brought!” The other cart drivers grumbled also in agreement.
JT noted that the sea captain was back on the dock with a crowd surrounding him. He could be heard saying. “If you bring an armload of wood you can board my ship.” With that the crowd dissipated again.
The progression went on and on until the last cartload of wood was loaded on the ship. As the driver began to board the ship, he confronted the captain, “Why are they allowed to board the ship when they only have brought all the wood they could carry? You told us we had to bring a cartload of wood to board your ship.” He looked angry at the captain, who stood there calmly.
“It is my ship, I set the fee. You and I had an agreement; you fulfilled it, and paid for your passage. They have an agreement with me also. If you do not like it, you do not have to board the ship.” He looked at the man sternly waiting for an answer.
The man looked at him, not sure if he was satisfied, but he had already paid for his fare and he nodded to the captain and boarded the ship.
Once again, JT noted a crowd gathering around the captain. “Dear sir, we only just got here and would like to board your ship as well, what must we do to board. Bring a handful of wood and be quick about it, the ship leaves at sunset. Once again the crowd dissipated quickly, and the ship’s captain stood alone.
The people with the huge loads of wood were followed in line by those with the armloads of wood, and at the end of the line were those with only a few sticks in one hand. Finally, the ship was loaded and the Captain came down to see if anyone else would board.
JT ran up to him and cried, “Where is it that you go, fine sir? Can I come?” The captain looked kindly and gently at the small boy, “It is not your time yet, we will meet again.”
He walked up the gangplank, it was pulled back and the ship sailed away.
The answer to last weeks’ story: Jesus Trek – 8 – (Matthew 7: 1-6)
To read the introduction to this story series please click HERE