THE WEALTHY BUSINESSMAN AND THE REALLY RICH FISHERMAN

A wealthy businessman was horrified to see a fisherman sitting beside his boat, playing with a small child.

“Why aren’t you out fishing?” asked the businessman.

“Because I caught enough fish for one day,” replied the fisherman.

“Why don’t you catch some more?”

“What would I do with them?”

“You could earn more money,” said the businessman. “Then with the extra money, you could buy a bigger boat, go into deeper waters, and catch more fish. Then you would make enough money to buy nylon nets. With the nets, you could catch even more fish and make more money. With that money you could own two boats, maybe three boats. Eventually you could have a whole fleet of boats and be rich like me.”

“Then what would I do?” asked the fisherman.

“Then,” said the businessman, “you could really enjoy life.”

The fisherman looked at the businessman quizzically and asked, “What do you think I am doing now?”

Source | Mitch Anthony, The New Retirementality
(John Wiley & Sons, 2008) pages 97-98

CONSIDER THIS

Money, wealth and contentment are not necessarily linked. If they were, there would be no such thing as a miserable rich person or a happy poor one.

What do you think is the main ingredient for a life worth living, brimming with inner peace and contentment?

 

PEACE, QUIET AND FLOWERS

A mother with five small children decided that their summer vacation should begin with planting a garden. So she took her little brood to the nursery where, for the next two hours, they squabbled over who gets to push the cart, insisted on seeing every plant in the five-acre greenhouse, cried very hard when there were no pick petunias, and broke a large clay pot. Home at last, she complained to her very patient husband “All I want is peace and quiet and some beautiful flowers.”  “My dear” said her husband, “I believe they call that a funeral.”

Source | Unknown

CONSIDER THIS “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore” | Vincent Van Gogh

WHAT HAPPENED ON EASTER?

“Can anyone tell me what happened on Easter?” the pastor in an affluent inner city parish asked. There was total and utter silence.

The pastor, persisting, asked again politely, “Now I know that someone here knows what happened on Easter a long, long time ago.” Again, total silence.

Finally, visibly frustrated, the pastor asked more forcefully, “Will somebody, anybody,  please tell me what happened on Easter Sunday!”

Finally, little Freddie (never at a loss for words) tentatively raised his hand and said, “They killed Jesus!”

“That’s right,” said the pastor, “And then what?”

“They put him in the ground!” (Freddie spoke with more confidence).

“Right! Right! Very good!” the proud pastor affirmed, “and then what?”

“And he was there for three days!” continued Freddie, now fully trusting his voice.

“And then what?” the pastor continued.

“And on Easter morning, Jesus comes out of the ground!” continued Freddie, now fully confident he had it all right.

“Wonderful! Amazing! Perfect!” the pastor joyfully agreed.

And then Freddie continued, ”And if Jesus sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of bad weather, six more weeks of winter!”

Source | As heard and remembered
during a recent conference I happened to be part of.

CONSIDER THIS

A lot of people are like little Freddie –  they know bits and pieces about the Easter story, but the details are not all that clear. In the midst of easter bunnies and colourfully painted eggs, it’s easy to forget the real meaning of greatest festival of faith: Easter!

Today, and in the coming days, consider this: what is Easter for you” What does it mean? And what difference does it make in your life?

GIVING YOUR LIFE

Itzhak Perlman is one of the finest violinists alive today. Several years ago, Perlman agreed to attend a charity reception after one of his concerts in Vienna. Tickets for the champagne reception were sold for the equivalent of five hundred American dollars per guest.

At the reception, while the guests mingled, Itzhak Perlman stood in a roped-off area flanked by security guards. One by one the guests were led into the roped-off area and introduced to Perl-man. As one man entered the roped-off area, he stretched out his hand, shook hands with the violinist, and said, “Mr. Perlman, you were phenomenal tonight. Absolutely amazing.” Perlman smiled and thanked the man graciously for the compliment. The man continued, “All my life I have had a great love of the violin, and I have heard every great living violinist, but I have never heard any-one play the violin as brilliantly as you did tonight.” Perlman smiled again but said nothing, and the man continued, “You know, Mr. Perlman, I would give my whole life to be able to play the violin like you did tonight.”

Perlman smiled once more and said, “I have.”

Source | Matthew Kelly,
The Rhythms of Life (Touchstone; Reprint edition, 2005)
pages 40-41

CONSIDER THIS

That is the difference. While some of us are sitting around letting the sand in the hourglass of life empty, thinking, I would give my whole life to be able to do that, or, I hope that happens to me one day, people like Itzhak Perlman are getting the job done. They are giving their whole lives to the magnificent and meaningful pursuit of their deepest dream, giving flesh to their deepest desire.

THE ONE THING MISSING

An aspiring artist sculpted a beautiful angel and wanted the master artist, Michelangelo, to inspect it and offer his opinion. So Michelangelo was called in. The master artist carefully looked at the sculpture from every imaginable angle.

Finally, he said, “Well, it lacks only one thing.” Then he turned around and walked out.

The puzzled would-be artist didn’t understand, and he certainly didn’t know what it lacked. Too embarrassed to go and ask Michelangelo himself, he sent a friend to Michelangelo’s studio to try and find out what his statue lacked.

The great artist replied, “It lacks only life.”

Source | Unknown. This is the version as remembered, heard during a seminar.

CONSIDER THIS

Do you feel like a sculpture without breath? Is it possible that many so-called believers (myself included when ungrounded)  are sculptures without life, works of art without a soul?  Many people have all kinds of things and the latest gadgets, but lack life.

  • We may have a car or a motorbike or both, but do we have direction for living?
  • We may dwell in a nice, big home, but do we have enduring inner peace and contentment?
  • We may have money, lots of it, but do we have a real sense of security?
  • We may have clothes filling our closets to overflowing, but do we have an authentic self-worth to coat our spirit and soul?
  • We may have many friends, but are we really connected? Or are we suffering from an unbearable hollow sense of loneliness?
  • We may be meeting all of our goals, amassing accomplishments along the way, but are we calm and serene? Or is anxiety leaving us feeling undone?

Spend some time with these questions and then consider a final one:

  • Is there something still missing? Are we lacking the one thing necessary: Life?

 

WE’RE SO LUCKY

“Honey, would you drop the kids off at school this morning? I’ve got a lot of shopping to do and errands to run.”

“Well, dear, I’ve got a pretty hectic day myself (sigh) …  OK I’ll do it.  But hurry, up kids!”

So Dad and his children jump into the car and they’re off. The busy father glances at his watch. “Why is traffic so slow this morning? Certainly people should drive safely, not speed, but this little old man in front of us must be sight-seeing! I’ll pass him as soon as I can… take a short cut maybe … Oh, no!!”

Wouldn’t you know it! The car approaches a railroad crossing just as the lights begin to flash and the safety gate comes down. Dad’s first thought: “Darn it! We’re going to be held up by a train and be late.”

So, as Dad is fuming in the front seat, anxiously tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, reviewing, in his mind, how to make up some time … a sweet, childish voice calls out from the backseat: “Daddy, Daddy, we’re so lucky! We get to watch the train go by!”

Source | Based on a story told by Jerry Braza, Moment by Moment
(Tuttle Publishing,1997) page 3

 CONSIDER THIS

Daddy’s take: an inconvenience, a delay. Child’s take: the joy of a new experience. The frustration and the excitement of seeing the train pass by: every occasion could become an adversity if we don’t welcome it as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Awareness of the present moment is always a wonderful reminder to stop and enjoy what the journey has to offer along the way. Often the “now”, called by some “the sacrament of the present moment” or “the Sacrament of the blessed present”, is filled with many gifts if we have the eyes to see, the ears to really listen.

MISTAKING THE GOOD FOR THE BEST

Herman closed the front door gently, took off his coat, and hung it in the closet. He unzipped his overshoes, first one and then the other, slid them off, and bent down to put them in the closet. There a wild jumble of boots and rubbers confronted him. Muttering under his breath, he began to sort them out and arrange them two by two. Then he carefully placed his own side by side in the last square inch of space and tried to close the door. It would not close. A parka that had been jammed in hurriedly was blocking the door. Herman methodically rearranged the coats and jackets and sweaters. Then he closed the door gently.

For one flashing second he thought, “Why didn’t I just slam that door? Why didn’t I just throw my overshoes in on top of the heap like everybody else does?” But it was only a momentary spasm. “One just does not do things that way,” he said to himself.

The house was strangely quiet. The cat meowed plaintively and rubbed against his leg. He stooped over and patted her.

“Hello, Mrs. Beasley.”

Funny name for a cat, but Tammy had insisted on calling her Mrs. Beasley after she’d seen a television doll commercial. A ridiculous name for a cat really.

“I wanted to call her Whiskers or Tabby, but Tammy insisted on Mrs. Beasley,”   Herman recalled, smiling to himself. “Mrs. Beasley.”

The cat followed him to the refrigerator. He poured some milk into her dish and opened a new can of cat food.

“Where is everybody?” he asked the cat as he spooned out food into her dish. Then Herman closed the refrigerator door gently.

“Last minute shopping, I guess.”

He mused about it as he went upstairs to take off his clothes.

“Lorraine is always shopping at the last minute. Well, not always, but a good bit of the time. Probably wieners and beans for dinner tonight.”

He was mildly irritated. The bedroom was a shambles. Lorraine’s slacks and blouse were thrown on the bed. The closet doors were flung open. A dress hung askew on a crooked hanger. Her shoes had obviously been quickly rummaged through. He sighed and opened the closet door gently. He hung his suit away, then carried his shirt to the clothes hamper in the bathroom. He had to push Tammy’s sneakers off the mat as he hung up her towel. He scooped up her play clothes and crammed them together with his shirt into the hamper.

“Life would be so much easier if people would just take a little time to be more tidy. It would make my job easier too,” he thought as he ran water into the sink.

He had to plan his day. This was Herman’s way – the only way he could manage to retain any semblance of sanity. Then inevitably somebody came along and disrupted his plans. Suddenly a great weariness came over him. As he leaned on his hands in the water, random thoughts begin to flicker through his mind like fragments of a ragged film running through a broken projector. Would the company expand or relocate? Maybe we will have to move. Jennings would sure like my job – he is a manipulator. The house needs painting. The living room rug is pretty worn. Has the washing machine been repaired? Wonder how much it was? Tammy’s tooth is loose; maybe it will drop out. Jennings has just built a new house. His payments must be very steep—no wonder he wants my job. At least Lorraine sews her own clothes; that is a help. We have got to throw a party soon—there are lots of invitations to pay back. Oh, the pledge card from the church, it has just come. Got to get the car winterized; should have it sanded and painted if l am going to drive it another year. I wonder if we will get any tax breaks this year? Didn’t get anything done today like I planned. That dumb Jennings—he messed up my whole afternoon—had to drop everything and go to a special session to consider his harebrained plans. He seems to think he is the only idea man in the company. How do they expect me to get my work done with all these interruptions?

He dressed and closed his closet door gently. He picked up Lorraine’s slacks and blouse and hung them away. “Poor girl! I know she gets fed up with her daily routines. Breakfast, cleaning, getting Tammy off to kindergarten, cooking, washing, ironing. I know she would like to get out. At least I see grown people every day. This house must be like a prison to her.” He closed her closet door gently and went downstairs. Mrs. Beasley rubbed his leg and he picked her up.

“Six o’clock—wherever could they be?”

He started to sort through the mail, and it was then that he saw the note. ”

“Herman, we waited until almost five for you and then just had to leave. Please get a cab and join us. You missed Tammy’s birthday party last year: Try not to miss it again this year. Lorraine! ”

Tammy’s birthday party. At a restaurant that caters such things. They had planned it together. He had been a little reluctant at first, but okay, the sixth birthday is a milestone, and he could see Tammy that very morning saying, “Daddy, you’ll be there, won’t you?” and he had given her a big hug.

He looked at the clock, and it said 6:15. Somewhere in his soul, Herman heard a door slam shut. The kingdom of heaven, so it is said, is like the time a man received an invitation—even conscientious Hermans can miss the party because they mistake the good for the best.

Source | Edward Richard Riegert,
in The Lutheran Quarterly, vol 16 (February 1974)

Quoted in
John Claypool, Stories Jesus Still Tells
(Cowley Publications, 2007) pages 63-66

CONSIDER THIS

  • Are you paying attention to what really matters in life?
  • Where are you investing the precious gift of time? In urgencies and emergencies? In important things? Or in what is essential?