There are stories told that can change lives and bring about new beginnings-this is one of those stories.
In the east, long, long ago there was a time of desperate need and a time of desperate men….
When the hot sun dominates a barren land, life can be hard and cruel, but it wasn't always this way. There was a time when God had quenched the thirst of this desperate place with enough rain to turn the village of Betheden into an oasis, rich with fruit, shade, and water. The land was abundant then and the lives of the people were blessed-at least that's what the elders have said.
But the land became as corrupt as the people who dwelt in it and the souls of men were dying along with the parched earth.
All night long, the young man of Betheden had walked in the hills overlooking his village. His fear of scorpions, snakes and all that lurked in the desert night gave way to his desperate need for answers. He wandered the night with one thought in his mind:
God could not have meant for it to be this way. There has to be an answer, but what is it? The day was dawning. The dark and lonely sky was giving way to the morning light. But the young man of Betheden was still lost in his troubled thoughts and almost passed the only soul he'd seen since yesterday morning. The sound of the stranger's voice startled the young man, "It's dangerous not to notice where you are going, my friend," said the stranger.
"I'm lost anyway," replied the young man without even thinking. "So what difference does it make?"
"Well, why don't you sit a while and we'll talk, maybe I've been where you need to go."
The two men sat together for a while and the young man began to tell the stranger about how both the land and the soul of his people were dying. He knew that it wasn't what God wanted, but he didn't know how to change things. The stranger listened quietly and when the young man finished, he said slowly, "What happens to the desert when the waters come?"
The young man thought for a moment before answering, "It turns green and blooms-life returns."
The stranger smiled, "The same thing happens to the mind when it receives the right knowledge, my young friend. You see, just as a tree cannot bear fruit until it's nourished within, a man cannot bear good fruit until he changes on the inside.
Acquire a prosperous mind first, and then you will have a prosperous life and a prosperous land." These words flowed straight into the soul of the young man of Betheden. He felt his mind had cleared. He asked the stranger eagerly, "Do you have this knowledge?"
The stranger reached into his pack and pulled out seven scrolls with symbols on them that the young man did not recognize.
"I am not here by accident, and I didn't just arrive today. I was sent here with a mission to accomplish and I have been waiting; watching, to find someone worthy to receive the message.
You see, it does no good to pour water on rocky ground that is not ready to receive it. The water will just roll off and be wasted and I wasn't sent here to waste this knowledge."
The stranger paused for a moment and then continued, "It's said among our people that many years ago, a man came from these lands and traveled to the Far East bringing us The Way of Prosperity, and now I have been sent to return the gift.
However, this knowledge can only be given to a thirsty mind-a mind so thirsty that it will drink every drop and still want more. Do you have such a mind?"
The young man nodded enthusiastically, "Yes, yes I do," The stranger placed his hand on the young man's shoulder, "Well, we will see my young friend, we will see….
And thus began the education of the Master of Betheden."