The Lion and the Bird

“Hello little one,” a lion said one day as he passed a small little bird that was muttering to herself.

“Good day to you sir,” the bird said cheerfully. She continued walking without looking up. All at once she realized she had just addressed the King of the Jungle. The KING LION! “Oh my!” she exclaimed. She quickly turned toward him and bowed politely. “Your Majesty. I have been looking for you!”

“Oh really?” the lion asked curiously. “What for?”

 Shyly the Bird answered, “When I heard about you from my friend, I had to meet you. She told me that you protect your subjects and love them so much that you’d lay your life down for them. I wondered what king would do that. I knew that was the king I wanted to follow. I would like to be your subject and for you to be my king.”

“Well,” the lion replied. He was touched by the small bird’s faith in him. “I’d love to be your king. Here is a gift for you,” he said, handing her a folded piece of paper. “It is a letter that I give all my subjects. It is sort of like an instruction book. Read it. Know it. Then you will know me and know how to live like me and obey my commands.” After he said this, he bounded away.

Once the bird flew home to her birdhouse she opened the letter and read…

Dear little one,

I am so glad that you have come into my kingdom. Ever since you were born, I have been calling you to myself. I love you very dearly.

When we met, I told you to know this letter well. Now, I commend you to memorize it. Hide it in your heart so you may know my will. Read it every day.

Not everyone in the jungle loves me like my children do.

Others will try to distract you from my ways and lead you down paths of wickedness. Watch out for them and do NOT fall for their tricks and lies.

Love others as I have loved you. Be kind to your enemies. Forgive each other and look out for each other more than yourself.

I rejoice greatly because you are now part of my kingdom.

-The King of the Jungle

 

“Wow! That’s a lot to remember, but I want to obey my king,” Bird said. “I’m happy I became his subject!” From then on, she tried to read the letter every day.

As the weeks wore on, the little bird read her letter less and less. “I just have so many other things to do that I don’t have time,” she said to her friend one day after being asked why she never looked at her letter.

“What if you forget it?” her friend questioned.

“I won’t forget,” she replied carelessly, going on her way.

Later…

Knock! Knock! Knock! Someone was pounding on Bird’s door. She couldn’t imagine who it could be. It was still very early in the morning. Bird hadn’t even finished her tea. Knock! Knock! Knock-knock! “I’m coming! I’m coming!” cried the irritated Bird. She hurried to open the door.

When she opened the door, she looked around a minute and looked toward the ground. “EEK!” she squealed. Slithering below her was Snake, her WORST enemy. He always tried to chase her around, snapping at her feathers.

“Excuse me,” the snake said slowly as if it was very painful for him to talk. “I’m sorry I chased you. It was wrong. Will you forgive me?”

Bird was surprised. What had made Snake change? Then, looking down through the dim, morning light, she realized why. Snake was bruised all over. It looked as if he had nearly been breakfast for some large, ferocious beast.

Although Bird felt sorry for Snake, she was still very angry at him for all the things he had done to her. “It deserves him right,” she thought. “I should just leave him there. I would have to go too far out of my way to help him.” So, Bird turned around and went inside.

As she sat down to finish her tea, she saw the King’s letter on the table next to her. Having nothing to do, she picked it up and read it. When she got to the end of the letter, she stopped. Bird’s eyes went back to the fifth paragraph. It read…

Love others as I have loved you. Be kind to your enemies. Forgive each other and look out for each other more than yourself.

Bird now knew what her king would have her do. He would have her help Snake; even if he was mean to her.

After that day, Bird and Snake became friends. Bird later told Snake what changed her mind about helping him. She was also able to share about her king and invited Snake to follow him, too.

But, the most important thing that Bird did was read the King’s letter every day. From then on, she knew what her king would have her do.

 

For His Great Name
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