Norman Baal was not an ordinary man in the town of Hutch. His aura held a persuasive sway on the moral tone of the people, like a compass for the town’s spirit or a lens through which men interpreted life. In fact, in his early years, he once turned the whole of Hutch against a small sect who had resisted his bidding. But his character had softened since then: “A different man, less pushy,’ many stated.
When his children, Bill, Oscar, and Louise, were nearing adulthood, Norman, ever ready to give his admired advice, bestowed his best wishes for their future. For Bill, he argued in favor of a career in business, charging his son to strive for wealth. To Oscar, he presented a vision of fame and honor, in which his second son would be the center of the town’s praise and adoration. To Louise, he introduced William Charming, a well-to-do lawyer in Hutch, who would provide her with a life of pleasure, free from worry.
All Norman’s progeny heeded their father’s counsel and embarked upon their endeavors with confidence. Bill quickly inspired the people with his ambitious plans. Reaping much support from investors, he built a foundation for enterprises which rapidly padded his pockets. Oscar found fame fast. Norman was quite satisfied that the example of his sons would point the dwellers of Hutch to the priorities that make life meaningful and bring happiness. But although Louise followed her father’s bidding, she felt a lack of accomplishment. William’s work supplied a substantial income, but money imparted no joy, nor did wealth give her a reason to face the next unfulfilling day, but William’s quick temper gave her anxiety at the thought of mentioning her emptiness to him.
At the depths of her self-pity, a messenger delivered a letter, addressed, “To Louise Charming, From Your King.” The words astonished her. Hastily she tore off the red seal and emptied the contents of the envelope into her hand. Unmistakably she had been chosen by the king of Hutch to fight for his cause. He wrote of a future of peace, that he told could only be accomplished if “the enemy which now threatens our prosperity is vanquished.” The king warned that although it would be dangerous, as long as he could be assured of her full commitment, she would be protected, and that once the war ended, she would receive an inheritance. Louise felt unable to reject such an honor. To accept the mission she would have to appear at the town square three days from now with as many people as she could interest in the King’s mission.
When William heard about the letter, he scoffed. He mocked her for thinking she would receive a letter from the king; however, she was not to be dissuaded so easily. Louise begged for him to come with her, but he refused to heed such “fanatical ideas”. Norman soon learned of his daughter’s new interest. Seeing the possibility that his calculated plan could collapse, he visited to have a word with her himself. His bribes, soft words, and logical reasoning had no effect, gradually fomenting concealed frustration. After finally reaching his breaking point, the agitated father yelled at Louise, proclaiming her to no longer be his daughter, and promptly departed. She sat stunned for a while, considering the recent events. William had humiliated her, threatening divorce, and now her own father had rejected her. “Is it worth all of this?” she pondered. She unfolded the letter which had caused her so much grief. The last line promised her an inheritance such as a father gives to his children.
With restored zeal, desiring to meet the king more than ever, and wishing that all would understand his commission, Louise took to the streets telling anyone who would listen about the promised future of peace and prosperity. While she ran from person to person spreading the message of hope, others were spreading a message of malevolent deceit. Norman’s forgotten tendencies resurfaced, turning Hutch against those who resisted his bidding once again, and Louise found out all too soon.
Nearly forty people followed Louise, as she made her way to the town square. Already she could hear the shouts of an angry mob waiting there. As they drew closer, more and more followers fearfully slipped away. By this time the shouts echoed hideously down torch-lit alleys, causing more to flee from her side. She was losing courage quickly. Her hope reached a new low as she saw no King at the distant rendezvous. Flickering shadows announced the mobs advance down the last alley she would have to pass by. Trembling, she braced herself to be crushed by the bloodthirsty stampede. Suddenly several large stallions bolted out of the opposite alley and ground to a stop in front of her. The king assisted Louise and the fourteen followers who were left into the chariot, and they sped away. Shocked, the angry crowd halted, staring in amazement at the royal conveyance, as the truth they had rejected withdrew further from their reach with every wheel turn. As for Louise, she honored the King.
The father, Norman, represents societal norms. Modern priorities around which our society revolves – wealth, fame, and a life of ease – are exhibited by his three children, Bill, Oscar, and Louise, respectively. The mention of Norman’s early days when he turned all of Hutch against a rebel sect refers to the Dark Ages. During this time, those who rejected the norms of society were not protected because those who followed the norms were permitted to persecute those who resisted. Not able to imagine how our modern society could ever authorize such atrocities again, many will be caught off guard and wake up on the wrong side too late to rectify their course of action. Bill and Oscar testify of those who feel in need of nothing. Satisfied with the thrill of money-making and fame, they too overlook God’s call when it knocks at their door. Only if one realizes the depravity of one’s situation will they be ready to receive the light. When Louise received the message, she accepted it with joy. “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” This quote by David Livingstone truly embodies the message of this parable. Louise was criticized and mocked for her decision, even being rejected by her father, but knowing she was the king’s daughter fueled her will to persevere. Finally, in the face of death, she willed to follow the king’s commands, and her courage was rewarded by his intervention. Will we choose God or man, the temporal pleasure of wealth, fame, or ease, or God’s commission that culminates in a future of peace?