Sunday Psalms: Fictional Narratives Inspired by the Psalms, Proverbs, & Other Biblical Works
Deep in the wild country, two villages relied on the same river to nourish their land. Similar to one another in almost every way, it would be challenging for a visitor to distinguish one village from the other. All the villagers rose at the break of dawn. The men worked the fields, the women tended the home. The children climbed trees and collected wildflowers. They were as ordinary as any two villages could be.
One day an astounding change happened upon the two villages. One that would propel them from ordinary to extraordinary. In the village on the North side of the river, a great tree sprang up. Tall and reliable with deep roots; its branches reached to the heavens. Its leaves provided a comforting shade from the noonday sun.
From every branch on the great tree, gold coins and paper bills sprouted. These were to be plucked and gathered each morning. For every family in the village, the tree grew a specific branch. One branch and no more.
Over on the South side of the river, a similar tree rose up as well. It was identical in every way to the Northern tree except that it produced a pile of money so abundant that the branches of the tree could no longer contain its wealth. With every gust of wind, coins and paper bills dropped to the ground, covering the land with money so thick that by the time the villagers arrived, the ground could no longer be seen.
“We must be dreaming!” was the unanimous cry of both the North and the South. But they were, in face, wide-awake.
On this first day, neither villages knew what to think of their trees. The Northern villagers gratefully picked their day’s allotment then returned to their daily activities. The Southern villagers, however, were faced with the dilemma of abundance.
“Oh, I insist. After you.”
Not wanting to appear greedy, the Southerners took their time, but they gradually filled up one straw basket after another.
As the hours passed, they eventually stopped worrying about appearances. Moving faster and faster, they did not stop until every bit of money had been collected. After all, it might rain overnight. It was the responsible thing to do, to make certain no piece of treasure was left behind.
With the setting sun as their backdrop, the men, women, and children did their part to carry home bulging baskets of money. They spent their evening counting the bills and coins, envisioning the changes this would bring to their village.
As time passed, people from both villages continued to visit their respective money trees. The Northern villagers faithfully participated in their daily gathering of provision. Some mornings there would be single coin, other days an entire handful of paper bills. Whatever the amount, it was always enough to meet the exact need each family required for that day, and that day only.
Meanwhile, on the South side of the river, the superfluous pile of money continued to grow. There seemed to be no end to the wealth that the tree produced. In time, the people grew so accustomed to the blanket of money that they started to lie down in it, to roll around in it. Day after day, they lounged under the canopy of the tree, letting the money rain down on them as they romped like dogs through autumn leaves, like children playing in winter snow.
As the Southern villagers continued to linger under the branches of their tree, they longed for the money to fall deeper and faster. One afternoon while frolicking in the flow, two of the men entered into a lively debate regarding the future of the tree:
How could they get it to produce more money? How could they manage to grow a second, or a third? Shouldn’t each villager have their own tree? And what about the older and the slower gatherers? Was it fair that they could not collect as much money as the younger families with ten and twelve children to help?
Soon, the argument escalated into a violent tumble and ended with one of the men killing the other, right there at the base of the money tree. The violence continued to grow, each man, woman, and child attacking the other. So bloody was the battle that by nightfall, all but one of the villagers remained.
With overwhelming sorrow in his heart, the sole survivor of the South village spent the night roaming the woods. As the sun rose, he crossed over to the North side of the river, just as the neighboring villagers were arriving at their money tree for their daily allotment.
Hiding behind a patch of blackberry bushes, the young man watched as each family gratefully picked from their designated branch. Their faces bore a look of contentment he had not seen since the day before his money tree had bloomed.
“Good day, neighbor,” one of the Northerners called out, noticing the man lurking in the bushes. “What brings you to our side of the river?”
The lone Southerner stepped out of the bushes and pointed to the Northern tree. “Rumor has it you have all you need on this side of the river. Came to see for myself. I hear it’s better than any tree on our side of the river.”
“Then you’ve heard correctly,” the Northerner answered and waved his hand in a greeting. “Come. Join us for breakfast.”
“You sure you have enough for one more at your table?” the Southerner reluctantly asked.
“Fret not, friend,” came the welcome response. “We may not be the wealthiest village, but we always have plenty for each day. Our tree takes care of us in that way.”
And He rained down manna upon them to eat, and gave them food from heaven. Man did eat the bread of the mighty: He sent them food to the full. Psalm 78:24-25 (ASV)
Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. Exodus 16:4 (KJV)
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:10-13 (KJV)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)
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Written by Heidi Sadler, Inspired by Psalm 78, Exodus, 16, Matthew 6, Hebrews 13, etc. © 2016, Heidi Sadler, All Rights Reserved.
The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. ESV® Text Edition: 2011. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.