The young man made his way through the market in Jerusalem. It was a fun area to be passing through. His senses were on overload.

You see, he was not quite a teen as of yet — 12 years old to be exact — and this was his first rendezvous alone of sorts. Nobody had given him permission to be where he was this particular day, or did they?

According to his parents, they had not, and sooner than later he would be called home. But until then, he was enjoying himself immensely.

The smell of chicken on the open fire came alive as the vendors nearby motioned for him to partake. Cage free they were as those not chosen as of yet still ran helter-skelter round the market.

That’s exactly how he feeling this particular morning, alive and free. Digging deeply into his pockets he noted he had coins enough to buy a small portion of that which they offered and for this he was grateful.

Even more grateful he was that the pocket in which he’d kept his coins was still intact, unlike the other. He’d learned his lesson the hard way when at the end of the day — one day — his money was gone. It had been hard earned as with his father he did carpentry.

When he was entrusted with payment for that labor, he’d been so eager to show his mama that he forgot which was which. Upon instinct, he placed it in the pocket nearest the fist which held the coins. When he went to dig it out, it was nowhere to be found.

Compassion was shown, but to his rescue they did not come. They knew their role well, and rescuer was not one that would develop who he needed to become.

He made his way through the crowd at the market this day. With many distractions, he managed to stay focused. That was a miracle in itself. You see, his friends were given freedom a bit more often than he so out and about they were on a regular basis.

Once they caught sight of him, eager they were to get him to have him follow their folly. He, however, merely made mention that he need be about his Father’s business and that was that.

As his footsteps were ordered long ago, he soon made his way to the temple. His heart leapt with joy, just like his mama’s did years back when someone, who was that? He couldn’t recall exactly. Simon? Simeon? He wasn’t sure, but this place felt like home, and thus he stayed.

The pre-teen listened, all right. For three days he listened and learned with the wisest of the wise as they shared well into the night. They cared for the young boy as their own, as his eyes — windows to the soul — were lit with each word spoken.

Partake he did of the wisdom being bestowed upon him. Partake they did as well, of the words spoken by the young boy who was wise beyond his years. It was like bread being broken at the table of grace as they partook.

Jesus was the young man’s name and soon, Mary and Joseph would be on the lookout for that which had been missing from their side. At first sight, they were relieved when they saw him as he didn’t appear to be running wild.

That was not a surprise, of course, because true to his character, he did not look to the right, nor to the left. No, he managed to look straight into the eyes of where His Father led, leaving a rich inheritance for all to followed.

Lord, we make our plans. Yet, you order our footsteps (Psalm 37:23).

Like Jesus, equip us with the ability to listen to Your voice when You call. Help us not to look to the right nor to the left, but straight into the eyes of Christ, so that we may be made worthy of the promises of Your promises. Amen.

Kathleen Kjolhaug lives on the family homestead outside of Clearbrook with her husband Pete. She enjoys writing about family life and brings humor into the sacred moments of everyday living.

Theology in the Trenches appears in several local newspapers throughout Minnesota. Kathleen can be reached by e-mail at


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