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Debt of Grace, you write the ending

I went to lunch one day at work, and while sitting there was suddenly struck with a story. I took out my pen and began to write, the act of which ate up nearly my entire hour long break.

As I returned to work, an associate came up to me and asked me this question: what is grace?

I responded with what I was taught by my parents as a boy:
receiving something I do not deserve.

Then I handed him this story and told him to read it, ironic I thought that I should write this only moments before asked that question.

Read and enjoy, and you tell me what your answer is, for you get to write the ending, for it is your story.

A Debt of Grace
The Sahara desert, the largest hot desert in the world, it is almost the size of the USA; that was the place this story happened. It happened a long time ago, exactly when, who knows. There was a man, he was a mean man, his friends… ok, he did not have any friends. His companions tolerated him only because they had to. He worked for a man who took things through the desert in caravans. He would treat people like dirt and manipulate and use them for his own selfish means. He was not a good man.

But then it happened, it was a daring tale, wrought with a series of amazing events. It began on a certain day during a trip through the desert from one town to another. Their caravan was attacked by desert raiders and in the battle and the escape the man’s horse was shot from under him. By the time the caravan had reached a safe point, the man was left far behind. Due to the fact that he was not well liked, no one was willing to risk their life to go back for him. And so it was that he was left to face his almost certain death alone in the great desert.

The caravan arrived at the town safely, and while giving a report of what happened a lone man heard that this man was left behind.
“Did you not go back for him?” exclaimed the man.
“Go back for him?!” responded the caravan boss, “I was almost happy to lose him. Why should I risk my life for a man like that.”

“Will no one return for him?” pleaded the stranger. But all he heard was reasons why it was not worth the effort. “Fine, I will seek him out, and if he should still live, and it be within my power to save him I shall. As I have spoken it, so let it be done.” And so against the counsel of those present he loaded up his horse lightly with just enough provisions to go and return and left on his mission of mercy to rescue a man whom he did not know, a man whose closest relations would rather leave to his death.

The searcher was blessed with an easy first journey, for he found the wounded man with little trouble. The man had breath, but it was short and shallow, a miracle even then for he had been wounded in the battle and then left to himself in the desert for days with only the small provisions he had on his person. Parched and scorched, he had found little shelter from the sun and the wind. Death was his only companion… until the lone man found him. The rescuer came upon him suddenly, almost from nowhere he appeared for such was the way of the desert. He jumped off his mount and knelt by the man’s side. Carefully wetting his lips and letting the water trickle down into his mouth, cautious to not give him too much too fast. He began to treat his wounds and clean the man, and he rested until night.

He began the trek home after he had cleaned the man’s wounds and dressed them; he sat the man on the horse and rode double, giving the horse a break from time to time by walking beside of it. The rescuer had traveled light, knowing that time was precious if he hoped to find the man alive. His fortune was not to continue on so fine as it had started, however, for soon into his return journey he was suddenly fired upon by riders coming up on him from the sides.

He tried first to out run them, but with two burdens the horse could not muster the speed, so when hope of escape was gone, he leaped to the ground and drew his weapons attacking the bandits with a savagery and zeal that rivaled the great warriors of legend! He fought so hard and defended with such energy that the bandits were driven back. It was a short lived victory for the rescuer and the man, for in the battle the rescuer’s steed was killed, and he was wounded. The provisions packed for the trip, although sufficient for the two on a horse, were now far from enough. The man, happy enough to be rescued in the beginning, now feared that he would be left behind questioned the rescuer, “Why did you come for me? Will you now leave me to die in order to save yourself?”

“I will not leave you to die, I came to rescue you, and if I shall die in the act then so be it!”
“Why do you do this foolishness? Leave me to die, and save yourself. Why should you care for me, a stranger?”
“All life is worth saving.” Said the man, and then undaunted by the dire turn of events, he hoisted the man onto his back and began to carry him.

The rescuer selflessly sacrificed his share of the provisions so that the wounded man might survive. For every one drink that he took, he gave the man three; for every bite of food, the man three. As the days stretched on, the provisions grew smaller; with each step the rescuer grew weaker, while the man grew stronger from the sacrifice. Still too weak to walk on his own the man carried him, by sheer strength of will he pressed onward towards the city.

Finally, within a stones throw of the city gates, the man’s strength was spent. A monumental accomplishment simply to have arrived thus far and unable to make the last leg, he collapsed to the ground. His body dry as a bone, his skin burnt from the sun, his breath came in shallow gasps. Knowing he had nothing left to give he looked at the man deep in his eyes and he gave the only thing left he could, a challenge.

“Life,” he gasped. “is worth saving. If you live, live life like it is valuable. Go and do not waist it on yourself. Rescue those who perish, care for those at death. Live a life of deep thoughts, and sacrifice. Share what you know and what you have. Do not let sacrifice come for nothing. Do this for me!” He breathed out once, and he breathed in never again.

The next morning, the people of the city found two bodies beyond the walls, one living and one not. The one who possessed life was taken and given care, the other buried in a grave with no name. A stranger in the land, from whence he came no one knew, but what he did traveled far and wide. The man who spent his very life to save a man who was written off and left for dead by all, a man who deserved to die.

As the man’s strength returned and he finally walked again into the light of day he stood before the grave of this unknown man and he asked himself this question, “To live the life this rescuer asked of me is not easy of any man, and for me it is twice as hard for I was a man who lived only for myself. I took what was not mine, and I gave to no one. Should I continue on as I have lived, or take up this man’s challenge?”

Now is the part of the story where you come in. You decide what the man does with his life. What will you have him do? Consider this,

"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:7-8)

This man was a rare exception, but if you think, this story was about us. You see, we are a people caught up in ourselves. Covered in the very thing God despises the most, yet He still left Heaven to seek us out and save our lives at the cost of His own. We face the very same choice this man faced. We shall see his choice played out in our own, so I ask again, what will you have him do?

(This story and the characters depicted are the fictional work of the author and do not represent real events.)