Recently, I decided to loan my middle son one of my cherished books, a leather-bound edition of Mark Twain novels. I charged him to take special care of it and not leave it lying around on the floor as I have seen so many of the other books in our home. This book is special for more than one reason.
During my college years, when home became an allusive concept, a box of books traveled with me from my dorm room, to my aunt’s house, to my college townhouse, and finally to my first home I shared with my husband. Two small bookcases fit snug under the landing of our stairs, and I alphabetized my paltry collection.
That collection included the Mark Twain volume. The inscription reveals the transparency of what I consider my earthly treasure and its intrinsic value for my destiny. In many ways, it is synonymous with my identity.
But, there is more to it than that. There always is.
The inscription and the book itself means more because of the life-long friends who gave it to me.
The same could be said for The Prince and the Pauper. It is more than an historical fiction about two identical-looking boys switching places. It is about how changing places changes them. Read the whole story to see what I mean, but don’t miss the deeper meaning.
As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God.
Books embody a gift and a heritage that ought to be extended to each generation. It is what the prince and the pauper discover at the end of their story. It defies mere wealth if we don’t let our selfishness get in the way. It is our entire purpose for living and the only thing we take with us when we die. It is why we celebrate Tom and Huck’s adventures and why we misunderstand Huck and Jim’s. It is reflected in the inscription within my Mark Twain book. It is inscribed somewhere else as well.
Relationship is why every book is written, including God’s Word. His Book begins with the ending of a relationship. The ending reveals the new beginning. Story after story in the middle tells of men and women seeking a relationship with God. The real-life miracles go beyond any conjured magic within a fictional king’s court. This Book also tells of a Prince who leaves His throne and becomes a pauper.
Read the whole of the story, but don’t miss the deeper meaning. In fact, read it over and over. This is a Book worth knowing by heart.
Relationship is about what redeems the day. It is why a boy transforms into a young man while reading verses aloud and discussing a classic with his mother.