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Dead or Alive?
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Life holds out some questions that no one can answer but you.

The story is told of an old man in a village who was an authority on just about any subject. His life had been one exciting experience after another. Children loved to seek him out and listen to his fascinating tales. No question was too difficult for him to answer.

He was a marvel! And the youngsters knew it.

When three or four of the children reached their teen years, they decided they were going to outsmart the old man. Surely they knew more than he. They spent many hours thinking up impossible questions. But every time they confronted him, the old man gave the correct answer.

Baffled but not defeated, they tried again and again. Still, the old man was too wise for them.

A Question to Stump Him

Then one day they thought they had the right question to stump him at last. They would catch a bird and hold it in their closed hand. Then going to the old man they would ask him whether it was dead or alive. If he said it was alive, they would immediately snuff its life out and let it fall to the ground. If he said it was dead, they would set it free to fly.

They caught a bird, and excitedly they sought for the old man. This was their chance to prove him wrong! So they confronted him, “Sir,” their spokesman said. “I hold in my hand a little bird. Is it dead or alive?”

The old man pondered for a moment or two. Then he answered, “Son, the choice lies in your hands.”

We, too, have a decision to make. The choice is in our hands.

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By Edna Jewell. Reprinted with persmission from Signs of the Times, December 2006. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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