In Lincolnshire County, England, tucked neatly against the western side of The Wash in the North Sea in the village of Wrangle, there lived a simple man named Adger Clarke. This was no surprise, as Wrangle was at the time populated by no more than 1300 persons, and thus, all were simple. The parish church was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the patron saint to harlots, single folk, tradesmen, contrite thieves, children, drunkards, sojourners and mariners. Old St. Nick had an addiction for nighttime gift-giving that lives on to this day.
Adger was a diligent man, given not to strong drink or any of the other vices common among the church’s parishioners. Adger rose every morning, went about his tasks with not a complaint so the day could be dedicated to his industry. Adger lived in a small house on the outskirts of Wrangle where he tended to his fields and grew vegetables of mixed variety to sell at the local market. Adger accepted farthings, halfpennies and shillings for his harvest to buy seed for next year’s crop. Any coinage left was put away for safekeeping. He fed his family with vegetables from his crops, fish he caught from the sea and would sometimes splurge on a cottage pie.
Townspeople knew Adger to be the man he was and fathers and mothers in Wrangle would often say, “I hope my boy grows to be as dependable as Adger.” As dependable and predictable as Adger was, he had a snippet of fault whispered by but a few. On his daily walk to town, Adger could be seen, if one was observing, peering over fences and into neighbor’s gardens. It’s not that Adger was possessed of mal intent, he was simply curious. But curiosity can be misunderstood.
One day, on his walk home, Adger spotted a reflection in a field. Arrested by his curiosity, Adger looked around to see if anyone was watching. Seeing no one, he hopped the fence and moved toward the glimmer. Reaching it, he could tell there was more. With his hands, he dug enough to see, to his delight, an unexpected find. Seeing no one, he quickly replaced the dirt and scurried home.
Excited, Adger paced and paced until dark bid him to rest. But before sleep claimed him, it happened as all thoughts do …with a blink Adger became predictable no more.
On the morn, Adger set about to see the field owner. “Sir,” he said, “I have sold all I own and wish to purchase your field.”
I am only the caretaker. My Master is on pilgrimage, but he left instructions should someone desire the land. Adger asked, “What is the price?” For free the land is yours, but should someone come and desire it, you are to give the land away.
And thus, no one owns what God gives.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44, NKJV).