July 28, 2016
Fairy tales are known to convey a moral lesson. What makes them interesting is they are often based on a true story as well.
The small town of Hamelin, Germany, was overrun by rats. Bringing disease while destroying property and more importantly food, the townspeople were at their wits end. They were literally starving with no relief in sight. Feeling they had nowhere else to turn, they demanded the mayor solve the problem.
The mayor and city council worked through the night. Idea after idea was shot down quicker than it was proposed. Every solution was one that was already tried and failed or just impossible to do. While the sun rose, when they thought all hope was lost, there was a knock on the door. A tall, thin gentleman in a colorful, or pied, coat stood in the doorway. He offered to rid the town of the diseased rodents and save the people. He asked for 1000 guilders as payment. Overjoyed by the prospect of being saved, the mayor declared, “If you rid the town of the rats, I’ll give you 50,000 guilders.”
The stranger took his pipe and began playing a tune. As the music resonated through the town streets, the rats came running to the Piper. When they had all gathered, the Piper led the vermin into the river where they perished.
Celebrations filled the streets and everyone rejoiced until the man returned for his payment. It was time to pay the Piper. The mayor then realized how much money he really offered. He began calculating how he could use that money instead. He convinced himself he needed the money more. Remembering their rat problem was at the bottom of the river, the mayor denied the Piper his due. Instead, he offered him 50 guilders.
Not amused, the Piper gave the mayor and the city one more chance to reconsider and fulfill their agreement. If not, the consequences would be devastating. Actually taking offense, the mayor dismissed the Piper's warning and refused to pay his debt.
Like a thief in the night, the Piper returned and began playing a different tune. This time, the town's children arose and began following the Piper, dancing joyfully as they went. As the adults discovered what was occurring, they were powerless to stop it. The Piper marched the children to the mountains, where they entered a hidden cave. Once the children were in, the door shut. They were never to be seen again.
One lame little boy was unable to make it to the cave before the door closed. He returned to town and informed the adults of what happened. The Piper told them they were going to a place where the sick were cured, the lame were healed, and the pain was gone. They would be happy and healthy forever. With the rats gone, the townspeople believed their lives would now be full of joy. Instead, due to their selfishness and greed, they lived out their days in pain and anguish without their children.
The world is infested with vermin, disease and sin. For decades we have watched corruption, deceit and scandal overrun the town of Washington D.C. Out of desperation we are demanding our government fix all our problems. The trouble with that is we are expecting the rats to exterminate themselves. It will never happen.
Always scheming to win the next election, congressman have pushed issue after issue down the road. The government has promised the world and ignored the payment in order to keep their own pockets full. Convincing themselves they need the money more, they have reneged on all their debts.
Like the mayor, Washington always chooses short-term gratification over long-term success. The problem is, it's our children who will ultimately pay the price. Eventually, the Piper returns and with it comes even deeper and long-term pain. America, it's time to pay the Piper.
This tale of responsibility and governance is even more fascinating due to its true-life beginnings. It is uncertain how or why, but it is confirmed that something happened to 130 of Hamelin’s children. In fact, records document that the children were led away on June 26, the Catholic Feast Day for Saint John and Saint Paul, in 1284.
Theories for this event include the children dying in an epidemic, leaving to participate in a crusade, someone kidnapping them for cheap labor, the townspeople selling them and the children being taken by the Mongols to settle in Transylvania. As it was a very poor time, it was not uncommon for towns to sell or send away the children they were unable to care for. Several of these theories would be consistent with this fact.
Since Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we have all been overrun with our own personal devastating rat infestation. (see Fruit of the Forbidden Tree) We call it sin. It destroys everything in our lives. It consumes the lives of our loved ones and children. It leaves us starving.
About 2000 years ago a man entered the world and declared He could rid us of our rats. He would restore hope and give us the bread of life.
People rejoiced as they led our Savior into Jerusalem on a donkey. By the week's end, He did as He promised and more. He destroyed sin by conquering it AND paid the price that went along with it. As with the mayor, the Jewish leaders refused to acknowledge Christ's sacrifice because their gravy train would end. Christ didn't restore Israel as they wanted it, a kingdom on earth. So, they rejected Christ’s gift and told Him to get out of town.
We continue to dismiss God, ignoring what He has done. He has given us countless warnings and endless chances to repent before Christ returns. He IS coming back. The Bible tells us that eventually God will withdrawal His blessings until we wake up and realize who He is. He WANTS to bless us. And all He asks in return is our love and devotion. Is that really that hard of a price to pay?
Christ preached repentance. Those who don’t will be charged with an even greater consequence, eternal damnation. Upon his return, He will gather up God’s children and march them to Heaven to live in His Father’s kingdom for eternity. Those who choose not to repent will be left to live in misery forever.
Liberty, it’s time to pay the Piper. We must continue to spread the blessed assurance of His amazing grace, as it is the only hope this dark world has. It is the sweetest sound the ears will ever hear. Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills, EVERYWHERE, while you joyfully await Christ’s return to take you home, leaping and dancing as you go.
That’s my 2 cents.
IT'S TIME TO PAY