The bishop’s wife

When the old king died, his showy son took over from him.  He decided that his father’s advisers and officials did not suit his governing style.  He interviewed the Secretary of State, Treasurer and several older advisers and found that they were unworthy to work for him.  They were immediately dismissed and banned.

The next person on his agenda was the bishop.  The new king had his doubts whether the bishop was wise enough to lead the church.  He sent a messenger with a letter to the bishop’s house:

“In three days you have to come to my palace and answer the following three questions:
1. In which direction is God looking?
2. What am I worth?
3. What am I thinking?
If you cannot correctly answer these three questions, you will be banished from my
kingdom.”

The bishop studied the questions and threw his hands into the air.  “What’s wrong with the man?  It’s hopelessly unfair,” he told his wife, Ariel.  “I have no idea what to answer to such silly questions.” 

“Don’t be so upset, dear,” said his wife quietly.  “I’ll go. You know riddles have always been my strong point.” 

He will immediately know you’re not me,” babbled the bishop nervously. 

“My dear husband, he’s never met you,” Ariel calmed him again. “If I put on your clothes – those loose robes! – and your cap and lower my voice, he won’t suspect anything!

It was such a hopeless case that the bishop agreed to his wife’s bizarre plan.  When the bishop’s wife arrived at the palace in her husband’s robes, she was immediately taken to the king.

Let us begin at once,” said the king. “In which direction is God looking?

Ariel smiled to the king and said, “Your majesty, I would like to ask you a question first.”  Then she walked to a candle which stood before the king‘s throne. “In which direction, would you say, does a candle give light?”

“You can see for yourself – it gives light in all directions!” said the astonished king dryly.

“It’s the same with God. Where He looks, there is light.  He sees everything, everywhere.  His glory fills the whole creation.”

“Excellent answer!” cried the young king.  “Now for my second question: What am I worth?

“29 pieces of silver,” Ariel replied without hesitating for one moment.

The king shook as he laughed:  “What a stupid answer!  I have many treasures of silver and gold.  I own hectares of land full of vineyards and other precious products.  29 pieces of silver is an insult!”

“The gospel tells us,” Ariel softly continued, “that the Lord Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver.  Surely, you are not better than the Lord!  Since you say that you serve the Lord, and as the highest authority in the country, I deducted only one silver piece. “

The king was amazed and also accepted this answer. “Now my third question: What am I thinking?

“Your majesty, you think that I’m the bishop, but you’re wrong.  I’m the bishop’s wife.”  Then she took the cap off her head and shook her long hair loose.  The king was shocked, but then he roared with laughter.

“You are a wise woman. You have answered all my hard questions correctly and it made me a little more humble.  Go tell your husband that he can stay as the bishop.  And if you’re interested, I’m offering you a job in my government.  I now see that I need such wisdom…

~ Author unknown ~

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