There once was a hard working farmer who fell upon the greatest of gifts.
The Lord appeared to this farmer and granted him three wishes, but with the condition that whatever the Lord did for the farmer would be given double to his neighbour.
The farmer, scarcely believing his good fortune, wished for a hundred cattle. Immediately he received a hundred cattle and was overjoyed until he saw that his neighbor had two hundred. So he wished for a hundred acres of land, and again he was filled with joy until he saw that his neighbor had two hundred acres of land.
Rather than celebrating God’s goodness, the farmer could not escape feeling jealous and slighted because his neighbour had received more than he. Finally he stated his third wish: that God would strike him blind in one eye.
And God wept.
Source | This is a Jewish story as told by Allan Culpepper
PONDER AND CONSIDER
- Jealousy can blind you, no pun intended!
- Celebration can open your eyes and makes you see and know what you have never seen and known before.
Once upon a time, a poor man was caught stealing and was ordered to be hanged by the king. On the way to the gallows he said to the governor, who was in charge of carrying out the execution, that he knew a wonderful secret, and that it would be a pity to allow the secret die with him. He also said that he would like to disclose the secret in front of the king. The poor man told the governor, further, that the secret would allow someone to bury the seed of a pomegranate in the ground and then make it grow and bear fruit overnight. Well the governor thought this sounded wonderful so the thief was brought before the king and all of the king’s high officers of state. Standing before these powerful men, the poor man dug a hole in the ground and said, “Here’s the secret: this seed must only be put in the ground by a person who has never stolen or taken anything which did not belong to him. I being a thief cannot do it.”
So the thief turned to the prime minister who, frightened, said that in his younger days he had retained something that did not belong to him. Next the thief turned to the treasurer who said that while dealing with such large sums of money, he might have at one point or another entered too much or too little. Finally the thief turned to the king, who embarrassingly admitted to keeping a necklace of his father’s with out his permission. Then the thief said, “You are all mighty and powerful men who lack no material comfort, and yet you cannot plant this seed, while I who have stolen a little because I was starving am to be hanged.” The king, pleased with the shrewdness of the thief, pardoned the man.
Source | Based on a story from a book of collected works The Exempla of the Rabbis written by various rabbis dating back to the Middle Ages. Stories like this one about the shrewd thief were popular in Jewish folklore.
PONDER AND CONSIDER
- We are all prone to making mistakes and wrong decisions. The more aware we are of our own foibles the more tolerant, understanding and forgiving we will be of others.
- Place yourself as an active participant in the story. Imagine yourself the thief, the governor, the prime minister, the treasurer or the King. Where do you feel at home and where do you feel uncomfortable? Why?
There’s this guy who invented fire. He takes the tools for making fire and goes up to the north, where there are some tribes shivering in the cold. He teaches them the art and the advantages of making fire. And the people become interested. they learn. And what do they know? Pretty soon they’re cooking, they’re using the fire for building. And before they had time to say thanks to the inventor, he had disappeared. He didn’t want any thanks; he just wanted people to benefit from his invention.
He goes to another tribe, and he attempts to interest them also in his new invention. But he ran into a snag there, see? The priests began to realize how popular the guy was becoming and how their own influence on the people was diminishing. So they decided to poison him. A suspicion arose among the people that it was the priests who had done it, so you know what the priests did?
They had a huge portrait made of the man. They put it on the main altar in the temple. They devised a liturgy by which the man would be honoured, a ritual; and year after year, people came to pay homage to the great inventor and to the instruments for making fire. And the ritual was faithfully observed. But there was no fire. No fire. Ritual. Remembrance. Gratitude. Veneration. Yes. But no fire.
Source | Anthony de Mello, Rediscovering Life. Pages 102-104
PONDER AND CONSIDER
“Why do you call me Lord Lord and fail to do what I tell you?” [Luke 6:46]
And what is it we’re told to do? Love. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be merciful. Forgive.
- Are you trapped by the need for recognition or fuelled and propelled by the urgent longing to make a difference and make the world a better place?
- What is your reaction to the success and popularity of others?