09JudgementTommy thought life was great. He loved to play in the “rice forest” as his Mom and Dad called it. He and his brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins loved to scamper down the long trails where the tall rice grew. Occasionally there were large sunny patches, but mostly they could play in the areas shaded by the tall rice leaves. And when you were hungry, you just cut down a “rice tree, ” and lunch was served. What a delicious environment.

The day after tomorrow Tommy was going to marry Susie. She lived over five rows and down beside the little hump. As Tommy sat munching his rice pilaf for lunch, he kept a wary eye out for hawks. But you don’t have to worry much because the tall rice trees made it not only easy to hide but almost impossible to be caught.

“Yes,” Tommy thought, “it’s a pretty good life.”

He and Susie (she’s the slender gray chick with the black eyes and cute nose) are planning on starting their family immediately. Tommy prided himself on being pretty “row smart,” so he felt he could take care of his family.

Tommy had heard from a couple of elderly uncles about a huge, gigantic animal (thousands of times bigger than a hawk) with immense round feet that ate whole forests, crushed homes and destroyed families. “But,” thought Tommy, “that’s just an old uncle’s tale.” One uncle had tried to get Tommy to move to the flat land next to the forest. He claimed it was safe. “What does he know?” mused Tommy. “It’s more dangerous because of the hawks, and it’s tougher to get food. Here I have instant rice. My uncle’s just a gloom and doomer. He probably has an end-of-the-world philosophy. But not me. I’m looking on the bright side! In fact, I’m going to buy a section in that new mouse hole that just opened up on row seven. If I buy two and sublease one and the price goes up like they’re projecting, I’ll make enough to put all of Susie and my little mousekins through mouse college.”

Well, it’s time to play, decided Tommy. As they lined up for the races that afternoon, they heard an ominous sound. It sounded sort of like thunder when it rained except it was more regular. Also, it would fade and then get louder. Fade and grow loud again — and all the while it seemed to get closer.

Suddenly Tommy looked up. There it was! The huge forest-eater his uncle described. The immense round feet were tracking down Tommy’s row. He was racing, trying to stay ahead. He turned to run to the next row — but it was too late. He heard his cousin scream. In that instant, before the round foot stepped on

Tommy, he thought of all his uncles’ admonitions.
“…and the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness and will cast them away into the furnace of fire; in that place, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” — Matthew 13: 39-43, NASB

Poor Tommy. He was only a mouse. He didn’t understand that combines are inevitable and that the harvest is coming.

But what are we? Mice? or men?

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