“As time moved on for man so it became a time of possibilities,
of changes in outlook,
of visions of the future,
of new found freedoms,
of new abilities as horizons receded,
as the trade routes shrunk through familiarity.
So the warlords fought amongst themselves,
set their eyes on conquests which were not deserved,
set their eyes on landscapes they imagined as theirs,
went to risk their lives in laying siege to the prize within their grasp,
went to risk defeat when grappling with the defenders of their homes,
went to sack and burn where life was far from precious,
went to leave for home when they had had enough.
So the warlords set their sights on tolls and taxes for access to areas under their control –
on entrance to the towns of size.
So the warlords exacted tribute for living under their protection –
on the millers of the grains,
on the merchants with their salt and spices,
on those who fished the seas,
on those who farmed the land,
on the potters of the day.
So the warlords brought complexity of servitude to the serfs already entailed –
at the pleasure of the landowners with each primogeniture in place.
So the warlords saw the abbeys spread across the land with the Christian faith;
were placated with titles and the right to land;
became men of importance with regional authority;
became ensconced in mansions built of stone:
where all which they could see from their rooftops was theirs and no one else’s.
So the warlords grew in status and in envy,
grew in wealth and in power,
grew in ambition and in greed.
So the warlords found their destiny as they came to reign and rule –
all that which was beneath them within their extended reach.
In all of this,
the merchants in a small minority,
survived and prospered,
multiplied and spread,
achieved both wealth and standing in their circles of acceptance.
The merchants of integrity were bound by their word:
rarely needed a signature prior to delivery,
rarely had a debt which was not promptly paid,
rarely had their sources questioned as to quality,
rarely had their offerings refused because of price.
The merchants of integrity knew the Torah as a Sabbath reference point,
knew the Bible from the discourses as new churches were placed upon the land.
The merchants of integrity fellowshipped in the conclaves of the cross,
in the conclaves of like commitment,
in the conclaves of understanding with wisdom to the fore.
The merchants of integrity invested in the future,
invested in their helpers,
invested in the welfare of their families.
The merchants of integrity were satisfied with their trade goods,
were satisfied with their opportunities,
were satisfied with the return on effort,
were satisfied with the perceptions of their business:
of stock offtake and replacement.
The merchants of integrity walked the pathway of their God,
the pathway of guidance for their families,
the pathway which fulfilled their faith –
as such brought contentment to their souls.
The merchants of integrity knew and intermingled,
had weddings where both the bride and groom were overjoyed,
where children surely followed as grandparents were created,
where status was set to change as ‘great’ was added as a prefix,
and again if so needed,
bringing both honour and much pride.
So the family names were assigned –
both of the widow and her children for the girls,
of the second husband through the males:
those who heard the stories of their loving care and the trials within the family –
which spoke of near disaster which was only narrowly averted.
The merchants of integrity numbered four within the family,
had their own areas of expertise,
had their own varieties of merchandise,
had their own families to support and nurture,
had their own garments in which they bought and sold,
had their own days when they were away from home.
The Merchants of the family could be recognized at distance on a laden horse with another one or two in tow,
could be recognized by the ringing of a bell as the hallmark of a trader,
could be recognized be the sampling of his wares,
could be recognized by his cry upon the streets,
could be recognized by his friendliness of spirit as he bade each a greeting such as
’Welcome to my wares’;
as he farewelled each with such as ‘May Good Health and Prosperity dawn each day on you’ –
just prior to going on his way –
accompanied by the tattoo of his horses’ hooves upon the cobbles underfoot.
The merchants of the family were very good at what they did,
they knew their loads would lighten as their journeying progressed –
knowledge which was shared by their horses who stopped willingly and often –
knowledge which was shared with artisans and smiths who did not attend,
did not supply,
the pedlars and the tinkers of the day.
The merchants of the family paid their dues unto society,
started small and grew both in stature and in wealth,
accepted incoming invitations to attend the festivities of families and friends,
to keep acquaintances within their greeting circle –
until they became regarded and adopted as their friends.
The merchants of the family had a prayer life worthy of their learning,
worthy of their characters,
worthy of the grace and favour arising from their membership in Christ.
The church of Christ in the dependent days of establishment –
was known to curry favour,
was known to stray from honesty,
was known to make pledges which rarely were fulfilled with the preferences intact,
was known to seek contributions with naming rights attached.
The merchants of the family rarely sought publicity for giftings to the church,
rarely entailed a gift upon the granting of a favour,
rarely sought an outcome where a conflict of interest would ensue.
The merchants of the family sought and operated in the wisdom bestowed by God,
knew and operated within the laws of their market places,
sought success with grateful hearts which operated within the moral code of God.
The merchants of the family shared their wealth with others,
attended to the widows and the orphans,
upheld and sustained those likely to be ravaged by hunger and by cold:
in each winter season where a cupboard was more often seen as bare,
was not able to supply even a single evening meal,
wrung out the drabness and the poverty from a life –
to fling it back on the shelving of despair.”