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The farmer stood on the porch of his fine old home gazing out over his many acres. He had never enjoyed scenery as beautiful to him as his own land seemed that day.
However, he was “not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21) because he had ignored the need of his immortal soul. As he stood gloating over his land, a worker appeared with his horse. Jumping into the saddle he galloped away.
Up the lane a little distance old Hans, the farm hand, was working. Hans had just unpacked his lunch. He removed his hat, and with folded hands, he was returning thanks to the Giver of all good gifts when he heard his employer’s voice: “Hans, how are you today?”
“Oh, is it you, sir?” responded the old man, looking up. “I didn’t hear you coming. I’ve gotten somewhat deaf lately and my sight is failing too.”
“But you look very happy, Hans.”
“Happy? Yes, I’m definitely happy! I have many reasons to be. My heavenly Father gives me clothing and daily bread. I have a roof over my head and a good bed to sleep in. That is more than my precious Saviour had while He lived down here on earth. I was just thanking God for all His mercies when you appeared.”
The landlord glanced at Hans’ meager lunch— a few slices of bread and a piece of fried pork. “And that is the kind of food you are thanking God for! I would feel quite deprived if that were all I had for dinner.”
“Would you?” asked Hans. “But perhaps you don’t know what I have that adds sweetness to everything God gives me. It’s the inward presence of Christ my Saviour! May I tell you a dream I had last night, sir?”
“Of course, Hans; tell your dream; I’d like to hear it.”
“As I was falling asleep, my mind was taken up with the happy land above and the many mansions prepared for those who truly love the Lord. Suddenly I felt myself transferred to the heavenly gates. They were wide open, so I could look into the blessed city. Oh, sir, the glory and beauty I saw no one could describe! Of course it was just a dream, but there was one thing I particularly wanted to tell you.”
The landlord began to look uneasy, but Hans, not noticing, continued: “I heard a voice saying, ‘The richest man in the valley will die tonight.’ Then I woke up.
“Sir, those solemn words were spoken so plainly, I haven’t been able to forget them since. I feel I ought to tell you. Perhaps it’s a warning.”
The landlord’s face turned pale, but he tried to hide the fears that terrified him. “Nonsense!” he cried. “You may believe in dreams, but I don’t. Good-by.”
He hastily galloped away. Old Hans, looking after him, prayed, “O Lord, have mercy on his soul, if he is to die so soon.”
A couple of hours later the farmer arrived home. Hurrying into the living room, he threw himself on the sofa, feeling quite exhausted.
“What a fool I am for letting the silly talk of an ignorant, old man disturb me! The richest man in the valley! Of course that’s me. But the idea of my dying tonight! I never have been so well in my life. At least, this morning I felt fine, but right now I do have a peculiar headache, and my heart doesn’t seem to beat normally. Perhaps I should send for the doctor.”
Toward evening the doctor came. The farmer, somewhat feverish on account of his agitation, was at a loss to explain his disability. The doctor lingered for several hours, trying to drive away the farmer’s gloomy thoughts. It was nearing ten o’clock when he decided to leave. Just then the doorbell rang.
“Who can be out at this time of night?” the farmer wondered anxiously.
“Sorry to disturb you, sir. I came to tell you that old Hans died suddenly this evening, and to ask if you will please make arrangements for the funeral.”
So the old man’s dream had come true! The poor servant, not his rich employer, was “the richest man in the valley.” His redeemed soul went to be with the Saviour who had loved him and shed His blood for him.
How is it with you? Are you rich toward God as Hans was? Is his Saviour yours?
“What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).