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Page 258

Why is God's free grace such a great wonder to those who experience it?

    Years ago, a very poor, lonely orphan boy roamed the streets of a large city in England. All his attempts to find a home and job failed. Eventually, he began stealing food on a regular basis from an outdoor market.

    One morning, however, he was caught by the owner of a vegetable stand. "I got you, you little rascal! You thief!" he exclaimed. "Everybody, I caught him!" he yelled. "Gather together and we will teach this little thief a lesson," he said, tightening his grip on the squirming boy.

    A crowd quickly gathered and the struggling, crying orphan boy was roughly dragged up onto a platform to receive a severe, public beating.

    In all the commotion and excitement, no one noticed the king and some of his servants walking past. His curiosity being aroused, the king stood at the back of the crowd observing all that was taking place. The poor, crying orphan touched his heart.

    As the boy was being positioned to receive his beating, the king walked up onto the platform. In surprise, the boisterous crowd quieted. All stood in silence, waiting to hear what the king would say.

    "Would everyone who has lost money from this boy's stealing come here," he called. Several shop and stand owners appeared. "How much does he owe you?" the king asked each in turn. After richly paying each, the king turned to the crowd and stated, "Is there any debt this boy

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