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A Small Town Restaurant

(A Parable About Rebuilding The Temple in Jerusalem)

There was a King over a certain small town who decreed that the town must have a restaurant to serve its residents. Now, right from the beginning the King declared that the first restaurant in Small Town was only temporary and provisional. "For", the King publicly declared, "My only son, whom I love, has promised to build a wonderful restaurant in Small Town. It will be the most wonderful restaurant in the history of the world, with the tastiest food and the most generous portions."

After the original restaurant was built, the king himself came and sampled its menu. "Ughh!" he exclaimed "This is no good, no good at all!" The King officially proclaimed the poor restaurant to be 'Unsatisfactory' and gave it a rating of only One Star. "But, it will have to do for now", he said.

Several years later, the king's son fulfilled his promise to the town. He established a wonderful restaurant with succulent food and generous portions. When his father the King came and ate at the restaurant, he was moved to tears, exclaiming "Everything is wonderful here! I am truly pleased and overjoyed with the restaurant my son has built!" He formally declared the new restaurant to be "Excellent", giving it his highest rating of Five Stars.

Next, the king ordered the first restaurant to close. "After all", he told the owners, "Your restaurant was only meant to be temporary and provisional from the very beginning. Further, I have formally declared your restaurant to be unsatisfactory." But the owners refused to close the restaurant. The told everyone to "reject the new, for the old is better!"

Well, the King took this as a direct, triple insult. First, the owners of the original restaurant were purposely defying his orders; second, they were insulting his official judgments and proclamations; third, and most importantly, they were insulting his son and his wonderful restaurant. Therefore, the king ordered a detachment of soldiers to burn the old restaurant to the ground.

Many years later, the children of the owners of the original restaurant decided they would rebuild it and serve precisely the same menu. They flatly refused to believe that the king would be upset at their efforts; in fact, they thought he would be pleased with their efforts.

Also, many of the townsfolk had simply forgotten the old controversy. Most didn't really care whether the old restaurant was rebuilt, or not. Yet many did. They also thought the king was over his former anger and would even be pleased with the rebuilding of the restaurant. Besides, they no longer held a very high opinion of the Son's Restaurant. Oh, they ate there all right, and enjoyed the food. But, it didn't really matter to them what others thought of it - even if others insulted it. So, they certainly didn't mind the idea of the old restaurant being rebuilt. "Good for them" they said, "to each his own". "If they don't like our restaurant, let them build their own. We don't care, so why should the king?"

Now, friend, what do you think the King's response will be to those rebuilding the old restaurant? What do you think he will say to the townsfolk who not only did not respect his son's restaurant and its honor, but actually encouraged the re-builders of the old restaurant, some even helping them with the reconstruction?

© Matthew Schilling December 2005

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