A seasoned pastor was meeting with a variety of members from his parish faith community. Gathered for the meeting were associate pastors and pastoral assistants, members of the pastoral council and the finance committee, as well as members from the many ministry groups in the parish. They were meeting to plan the year ahead but also, and most importantly, to explore together ways of tackling the parish debt.
In the midst of the meeting an angel appeared saying to the pastor that she had come to reward him for his many years of devoted service to his community. He was asked to choose between three blessings: infinite wealth, infinite fame or infinite wisdom.
Without hesitation, the pastor asked for infinite wisdom. “You got it!” said the angel, and disappeared. Silence followed as all heads slowly turned toward the pastor, who by now was glowing in an aura of wisdom.
Finally the chair of the pastoral council leans in and whispers into the pastor’s ear, “Say something.” The pastor looked at them and said, “I should have taken the money.”
Source: Re-imagined and retold by Philip Chircop
Tuesday 20th September 2016
God answered Solomon, “This is what has come out of your heart: You didn’t grasp for money, wealth, fame, and the doom of your enemies; you didn’t even ask for a long life. You asked for wisdom and knowledge so you could govern well my people over whom I’ve made you king. Because of this, you get what you asked for—wisdom and knowledge. And I’m presenting you the rest as a bonus—money, wealth, and fame beyond anything the kings before or after you had or will have.” –2 Chronicles 1:11-12
Imagine that you are offered three blessings to choose from: infinite wealth, infinite fame or infinite wisdom. Which one would you choose and why?
Gerry was walking down a sidewalk in Washington D.C., with a Native American friend who worked in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It was lunchtime in Washington. People were husslin’ and busslin’ along the sidewalks, and car honks and hurried engine noises filled the streets. In the middle of all this traffic, Gerry’s friend stopped and said, “hey, a. cricket!”
“What?” said Gerry.
“Yeah, a cricket,” said his friend. “Look here,” and he pulled aside some of the bushes that separated the sidewalk from the government buildings. There in the shade was a cricket chirping away.
“Wow,” said Gerry, “How did you hear that with all this noise and traffic?”
“Oh,” said the Native man. “It was the way I was raised … what I was taught to listen for. Here, I’ll show you something.”
The Native man reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of coins … nickels, quarters, dimes … and dropped then on the sidewalk. Everyone who was rushing by stopped to … listen.
Source: Susan Strauss
Passionate Fact: Storytelling in Natural History and Cultural Interpretation (Fulcrum Publishing, 1996) page 9
We with our busy lives, rushing down highways and byways, preoccupied with our own inner thoughts and expectations, what do we hear?
Where is your focus? What are you paying attention to? What are you listening to?
Once a famous rabbi wished to have a glimpse of peoples’ hearts and test their opinions of themselves. He called three passers-by into his house. Turning to the first man he said, “Suppose you found a purse full of gold coins, what would you do with it?”
“I would give it to the owner right away provided, of course, I knew who the owner was,” the man replied.
“Fool!” the rabbi exclaimed. Then he put the same question to the second man.
“I wouldn’t give it back to the owner. I’d put it in my pocket. I am not so stupid as to let a windfall like that slip through my hands,” and man replied.
“Scoundrel!” exclaimed the rabbi. Then he put the question to the third man.
“How can I possibly know, rabbi, what I would do in a case like that?” the man replied. “Would I be able to conquer the evil inclination? Or would the evil urge overcome me and make me take what belongs to another? I do not know. But if the Holy One, blessed be He, strengthened me against the evil inclination, I would give back the money to its owner.”
“Your words are beautiful,” the rabbi exclaimed. “You are wise indeed.”
Source | Unknown
PONDER AND CONSIDER
The first was called a fool. Why? He presumed he would be strong enough to resist the temptation to keep the money. No one is so secure that he can’t fall. People don’t fall because they are weak; they fall because they think they are strong.
The second was called a scoundrel. Why? He was prepared – without the slightest qualm of conscience – to keep what didn’t belong to him.
The third was praised. Why? He was a good and wise gentleman. He was aware of his weakness and hoped that when faced with the temptation to keep the money he would be given the strength and the vision to do the right thing.