“ABYSSINIA KING TOILS ON ROADS WITH SUBJECTS
American Missionary Saw Ras Tafari Lugging Stones for Mending of Roads.
His royal highness, Ras Tafari, king of Abyssinia, is not above going to a rock pile and carrying stones to mend a road, and doing so with the humblest of his subjects, according to Dr. Thomas Lambie, an Amerian medical missionary at Addis Ababa, Abyssinia. (…)
The king of Abyssinia has just given the site to erect the first modern hospital in his kingdom. (…) The medical missionary wrote that in his mind the stone carrying incident revealed ‘an unusual spirit on the part of an eastern king’. He said he thought this was a good illustration of the Bible command, ‘bear ye one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ’. (..)
‘When we got to the race track I noticed a big crowd of people coming along (…) Some very great man is riding out today, I thought to myself. (…) Yes, it most centrainly was his highness Ras Tafari himself, the ruler of Abyssinia. He saw me at the same time I saw him. We both raised our hats and I attempted to dismount from my horse that I might do him honor before his men. Over the heads of the crowd he smilinglu motioned me not to do so and passed on.
His Majesty Bears His Burden
(…) Everyone was carrying a stone on his shoulder. They had gone to Kugbana river and each had picked up a great stone and was carrying it back to mend the road in preparation for the rainy season which will soon be upon us. Yes, the ruler was with them: but surely he would not have to carry a stone. No, he would not have to, but nevertheless he was doing so. And as I saw him going out to do some menial work, as an example and to encourage his people, the words quoted above came to my mind. <<Bear ye one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ>>.
Dare anyone criticize and say, <<better to hire some one to do this work than to give his valuable time to such service>>. Abyssinia is not America or England. Our Lord in coming to earth might also have used different methods. He might have come as a ruler on an ivory throne, a place He was lifted to occupy as David’s greater son: instead, however, He washed His disciples feet. The servant should not be greater than his Lord.
And so I saw the ruler of Abyssinia, going to the rock pile and carrying stones to encourage his men, I felt he was doing a very great and kind service to them and to the country. He was teaching them not to be ashamed to work. I personally believe he is the hardest worked man in all this country. From morning until night he is engaged in seeing people, in giving judgment between disputants, and in a thousand and one duties that daily press upon him as the ruler of this great land, so that his friends tell me that he often has a tired and worried expression. In one sense he is the ruler of all, in another sense a servant of all.
An officer said that he did not ask anyone to do a work that he was not willing to do himself. (…) He has some who hinder and prevent him in his own country, and some of his greatest difficulties arise from the type of Europeans who come to this country, but I feel that a ruler who shows this spirit of willingness to help and willingness to serve will overcome all difficulties and will with patient effort place Abyssinia alongside of the great countries of the world.
Here is a lesson for each one of us. Do not set another to do something you think yourself too great to perform. Share their burden with them and thus you bear the burden for them.”