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They say I'm selfish and stingy. And yet in my last will and testament I have donated all that I own to charitable cause." His friend said: "Well, maybe the story of the cow and the pig has a lesson for you.""The pig came to the cow and complained: 'People always talk about your friendliness. I know you are friendly, you do give them milk. But they get much, much more from me. They get ham and bacon and lard and they even cook my feet. And yet - no one likes me. To all of them I am just a pig, a hog. Why is that?' The cow thought it over a bit and then said: 'Perhaps it's because I give while I am still alive!'"
The monkey and the dolphin One day long ago, some sailors set out to sea in their sailing ship. One of them brought his pet monkey along for the long journey. When they were far out at sea, a terrible storm overturned their ship. Everyone fell into the sea, and the monkey was sure that he would drown. Suddenly a dolphin appeared and picked him up. They soon reached the island and the monkey came down from the dolphin’s back. The dolphin asked the monkey, “Do you know this place?” The monkey replied, “Yes, I do. In fact, the king of the island is my best friend. Do you know that I am actually a prince?” Knowing that no one lived on the island, the dolphin said, “Well, well, so you are a prince! Now you can be a king!” The monkey asked, “How can I be a king?” As the dolphin started swimming away, he answered, “That is easy. As you are the only creature on this island, you will naturally be the king!” Those who lie and boast may end up in trouble.
A Bamboo Tree A farmer had a cluster of beautiful bamboo trees. One day he stood before the tallest one and said, "My friend, I need you." "Sir," said the bamboo, "Use me in any way you wish, I am ready." Then the gardener's voice became serious and he said, "In order to use you, I've got to split you in half." Then the bamboo reacted, "Split me" Oh, no... I'm the nicest bamboo in this garden. Use me in any way you wish, but please don't split me in half." "Well," said the gardener, "if I can't split you, I can't use you." The bamboo went silent. Then it bowed its head and said, "Okay. If the only way you can use me, is by splitting me, go ahead." "But that's not all," said the gardener. "I am going to have to cut off all your branches." "That will be the end of my beauty," the bamboo said. "But - if that's the only way I can be of use - cut me down altogether." So the farmer cut down the bamboo, removed its branches and split it down the middle. After hollowing out its insides, he brought it to a spring of water. It became a pipe to bring water to the gardens and make them fertile and fruitful. It gave its life to help other lives. Everyday right around us people are giving their lives that we might live... Take our parents, our teachers, ...
The milkmaid A milkmaid was on her way to the market to sell some milk from her cow. As she carried the large jug of milk on top of her head, she began to dream of all the things she could do after selling the milk. “With that money, I’ll buy a hundred chicks to rear in my backyard. When they are fully grown. I can sell them at a good price at the market.” As she walked on, she continued dreaming, “Then I’ll buy two young goats and rear them on the grass close by. When they are fully grown, I can sell them at an even better price!” Still dreaming, she said to herself, “Soon, I’ll be able to buy another cow, and I will have more milk to sell. Then I shall have even more money...” With these happy thoughts, she began to skip and jump. Suddenly she tripped and fell. The jug broke and all the milk spilt onto the ground. No more dreaming now, she sat down and cried. Do not count your chickens before they are hatched
God Hidden in People Once God promised an elderly lady that he would visit her that day. So she got ready... She scrubbed and cleaned and polished and dusted and put everything in order. Then she sat down and waited for God to come. Suddenly someone knocked. She raced to the door and quickly pulled it open and what did she see but just a poor beggar standing outside. "No, not today," the lady said, "for heaven's sake get along with you... I am waiting for God to come any minute now... I can't be bothered with you." The beggar left as hungry as he had come. A bit later there was another knock. The lady opened the door even faster than before. A poor old man stood there. "Sorry," said the lady, "I can't take care of you today." With that she slammed the door in his face. Quite a bit later someone again knocked at the door. Again it was a ragged hungry beggar. She sent him off empty-handed and sat down to wait. Evening came on and still there was no sign of God. Finally she went to bed with a heavy heart. She dreamt that the good Lord had come to her and said, "I came to you three times today and all three times you threw me out." There is an old custom in the monasteries of Europe. All guests, all people coming to the door, are treated well, because they believe in the old saying: "When a guest comes, Christ comes."
Believing in People A wealthy businessman in a small town had signs printed and placed all over the town. They stated that if any person in the town who owed debts, would come to his office on a certain day between nine and twelve in the morning, he would pay those debts. Naturally, that promise was the talk of the town. But very few believed it. They thought there was a catch somewhere. The day came. The business man sat in his office at nine. By ten, no one had come. At eleven, a man was seen walking up and down outside, occasionally looking up at the office door. Finally he seemed to take courage and open it. He put his head in and asked, "Is it true that you will pay any person's debt?""That's right," the rich man replied. "Are you in debt?" "I certainly am," the caller answered. "Do you have along the bills and statements to prove it?" The visitor produced the documents and the business man wrote out a check covering all of them. Before twelve o'clock, two other men came and had their debts paid. People outside could not believe it. But now there was no time left to have their bills paid. If people don't believe in the goodness of man, how can they believe in the goodness of God?
THE DEVOTED MOTHER A mother duck and her little ducklings were on their way to the lake one day. The ducklings were very happy following their mother and quack-quacking along the way. All of a sudden the mother duck saw a fox in the distance. She was frightened and shouted, “Children, hurry to the lake. There’s a fox!” The ducklings hurried towards the lake. The mother duck wondered what to do. She began to walk back and forth dragging one wing on the ground. When the fox saw her he became happy. He said to himself, “It seems that she’s hurt and can’t fly! I can easily catch and eat her!” Then he ran towards her. The mother duck ran, leading the fox away from the lake. The fox followed her. Now he wouldn’t be able to harm her ducklings. The mother duck looked towards her ducklings and saw that they had reached the lake. She was relieved, so she stopped and took a deep breath. The fox thought she was tired and he came closer, but the mother duck quickly spread her wings and rose up in the air. She landed in the middle of the lake and her ducklings swam to her. The fox stared in disbelief at the mother duck and her ducklings. He could not reach them because they were in the middle of the lake.
Education An Arab sheik was getting along in years and he felt that it was time to name one of his sons his successor. He had three sons, who were triplets. He loved them all equally and did not know which of them to choose as a successor. So he sent them off to a distant land and promised that the one who would come back with the most useful learning would get the birthright. The three went off to distant lands; attended universities and visited exotic places. The first brother invented magic glasses with which he could see any place he wished to see on earth. The second perfected a magic carpet on which he sat and zoomed to any part of the earth in five minutes. The third son invented a medicine that could cure any sickness. After some years the three came together for a birthday party and explained what they had found. The first son looked through his magic glasses and saw his father dying. The second invited the other two to hop onto his magic carpet and within five minutes they were at their father's side. There the third son took out his magic medicine and cured his father at once. Now the sheik was more confused than ever, since it took the work of all three of them to save his life.... That is the story of Christian education. It needs three places of schooling: the home, the church and the classroom. If one of them is lacking, the other two won't work.
The one-eyed doe A Doe had the misfortune to lose one of her eyes, and could not see any one approaching her on that side. So to avoid any danger she always used to feed on a high cliff near the sea, with her sound eye looking towards the land. By this means she could see whenever the hunters approached her on land, and often escaped by this means. But the hunters found out that she was blind of one eye, and hiring a boat rowed under the cliff where she used to feed and shot her from the sea. “Ah,” cried she with her dying voice. “You cannot escape your fate.”
Life is Like An Echo
A little boy came running excitedly to his mother saying: "Mom, there is a boy out there in the woods who is mocking me. Everything I say he says after me. If I say: "Hello," he says: "Hello." When I say "Who are you?" he says: "Who are you?" "So I got mad and jumped over the fence and went into the woods to find him. But he wasn't anywhere. So I yelled, "I'll punch you in the nose." And he said the very same thing, exactly as I had said it." The boy's mother told him, "That is only an echo answering you Billy. If you had said: 'I love you,' it would have said the same to you." There is a similar story about a dog who went into a room full of mirrors. He eventually died of exhaustion trying to fight his mirrored 'enemies.' If he had only wagged his tail once, he would have had all of them wagging their tails in friendship. Life is like an echo or a mirror: we get out of it what we put in.
The proud red rose One beautiful spring day a red rose blossomed in a forest. Many kinds of trees and plants grew there. As the rose looked around, a pine tree nearby said, “What a beautiful flower. I wish I was that lovely.” Another tree said, “Dear pine, do not be sad, we can not have everything.” The rose turned its head and remarked, “It seems that I am the most beautiful plant in this forest.” A sunflower raised its yellow head and asked, “Why do you say that? In this forest there are many beautiful plants. You are just one of them.” The red rose replied, “I see everyone looking at me and admiring me.” Then the rose looked at a cactus and said, “Look at that ugly plant full of thorns!” The pine tree said, “Red rose, what kind of talk is this? Who can say what beauty is? You have thorns too.” The proud red rose looked angrily at the pine and said, “I thought you had good taste! You do not know what beauty is at all. You cannot compare my thorns to that of the cactus.” “What a proud flower”, thought the trees. The rose tried to move its roots away from the cactus, but it could not move. As the days passed,the red rose would look at the cactus and say insulting things, like: This plant is useless? How sorry I am to be his neighbor. The cactus never got upset and he even tried to advise the rose, saying,“God did not create any form of life without a purpose.” Spring passed, and the weather became very warm. Life became difficult in the forest, as the plants and animals needed water and
no rain fell. The red rose began to wilt. One day the rose saw sparrows stick their beaks into the cactus and then fly away, refreshed. This was puzzling, and the red rose asked the pine tree what the birds were doing. The pine tree explained that the birds got water from the cactus. “Does it not hurt when they make holes?” asked the rose. “Yes, but the cactus does not like to see any birds suffer,” replied the pine. The rose opened its eyes in wonder and said, “The cactus has water?” “Yes you can also drink from it. The sparrow can bring water to you if you ask the cactus for help.” The red rose felt too ashamed of its past words and behavior to ask for water from the cactus, but then it finally did ask the cactus for help. The cactus kindly agreed and the birds filled their beaks with water and watered the rose’s roots. Thus the rose learned a lesson and never judged anyone by their appearance again.
Faith in God Smitty was a hard-headed farmer. When a flood hit the area, he climbed onto the roof of his house. A rescue boat came along but Smitty told them, "No, thanks. I have faith in the Lord. He will save me. The waves got even higher and Smitty had to go to the very top of the roof. Another boat came by to save him, but he still insisted that the Lord would save him. Then the water began to get his feet wet and a helicopter swooped down to take him away. But Smitty still depended on the Lord to save him. Well, you can easily imagine what happened. Yes. Smitty was drowned. When he stood before the Lord in the next world, he complained, "Lord, I had such faith in you. Why didn't you save me?" To which the Lord replied, "What more do you want me to do? I sent you two boats and a helicopter." Saint James puts it this way in the Scripture: "It is by his actions that a man is put right with God, and not by his faith alone"
The selfish man Once upon a time, there was a selfish man. He liked everything to be his own. He could not share his belongings with anyone, not even his friends or the poor. One day, the man lost thirty gold coins. He went to his friend’s house and told him how he lost his gold coins. His friend was a kind man. As his friend’s daughter was coming from an errand she found thirty gold coins, when she arrived home, she told her father what she had found. The girl’s father told her that the gold coins belong to his friend and he sent for him. When the selfish man arrived, he told him how his daughter had found his thirty gold coins and handed then to him. After counting the gold coins the man said that ten of them was missing and had been taken by the girl as he had forty gold coins. He further commented that he will recover the remaining amount from him. But the girl’s father refused. The man left the gold coins and went to the court and informed the judge there about what had taken place between him and the girl’s father. The judge sent for the girl and her father, and when they arrived asked the girl how many gold coins did she find. She replied thirty gold coins. The Judge that asked the selfish man how many gold coins did he lose and he answered forty gold coins. The judge then told the man that the gold coins did not belong to him because the girl found thirty and not forty as he claimed to have lost and then told the girl to take the gold coins and that if anybody is looking for them he will send for the girl.
The judge told the man that if anybody reports that they have found forty gold coins he will send for him. It was then that the man confessed that he lied and that he lost thirty gold coins but the judge did not listen to him. This story teaches us to be always honest as dishonest never pays.
The ship A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island. The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren. After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing. Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing. Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?” “My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.” “You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.” “Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?” “He prayed that all your prayers be answered.” For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us.
Being a Light In one corner of the world squatted a sullen, sulking, friendless darkness. Suddenly a tiny light appeared. It was very small but it was a light. Someone had put it there. It just stood there and sent out its rays. A passerby remarked to the light: "Don't you think you would be of more use somewhere else and not in this God-forsaken corner?" "Not really," said the little light. "I shine because I am a light. And because I shine, I am a light. I don't shine in order to be seen, but so that others could seen in the dark." When the gloomy darkness heard this, it gritted its teeth and full of furry, tried to put out the light. But the gigantic darkness was powerless against this tiny light that wanted to shine. An old saying goes: "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness."
Seeing Dirt One of the British noblemen had left behind a big castle which contained priceless paintings. The public could come and see them from time to time. One day a group of people were moving through the large rooms and admiring the paintings as they went. One elderly woman never spoke a word but would repeatedly go close to each picture and examine it very carefully. After the visit, someone asked her what she thought of it all. "It was perfect," she said with enthusiasm. "I could not find a speck of dust anywhere." How often we miss the beauties of life because we are so intent on looking for faults. Someone puts it this way: "There is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us, that it is not fair for any of us to speak against the rest of us."
Sincerity Once upon a time there lived a wise King Solomon. One day his friend the Queen of Sheba sent him two vases of roses. One vase had real roses in it; the other had hand-made roses, which were so perfect that she challenged King Solomon to tell her which roses were the real ones without smelling them. That was no problem to the wise Solomon. He just opened the window and let in a swarm of bees. They flew right over to the real roses. Many people may look alike from the outside, but God can easily tell the difference. Saint Paul in Galatians 6:3 puts it this way, "if someone thinks he is somebody when really he is nobody, he is only deceiving himself."
Envy Centuries ago in the country of Greece there was a young athlete who had so distinguished himself in the public games that his fellow citizens raised a statue in his honor, to keep fresh the memory of his victories. This statue so excited the envy of another athlete who had been defeated in the races, that one night he went out under cover of darkness with the intention of destroying that statue and knocking it to pieces. First he tried and tried to tip over the statue. He tugged and pulled and shoved... and after an hour it moved just a little bit. This encouraged him and he gave one mighty push and the statue fell -- on top of him, and killed him. Envy always harms the one who is guilty of it. "Envy and anger shorten one's life."
Greed A rich landowner offered to give the newly arrived neighbor all the land he could walk around in one day. The condition was that he would have to be back at the spot from which he started by sundown. Early the next morning the neighbor set out, without eating any breakfast or greeting anyone. His plan was to cover six square miles. When he finished the first six, he decided to make it nine, then twelve, and finally fifteen. That meant he would have to walk sixty miles before sundown. By noon he had covered thirty miles. He did not stop for food or drink. His legs grew heavier and heavier. About two hundred yards from the finish line, he saw the sun going toward the horizon. He had only a few minutes left. He gathered all his energies for that one last effort. He staggered across the line just in time. Then he reached for his heart and fell down in a heap - dead. All the land he got was a piece six feet by two for his grave. He died of greed. "Avoid greed in all forms."
Tongues The king made a banquet and ordered his clever slave to serve the best food that money could buy. The main food at the meal was tongue... all kinds of tongue cooked in all kinds of ways. All the side dishes and even dessert were also tongue... When the king objected, the slave said: "My Lord, what excels the tongue? It is the channel of wisdom and learning. By it we make speeches and carry out business. By it great personals are made known. With our tongue we speak even to God.. King, there is nothing equal to the tongue." The king all the guests were astounded to hear all this wit and wisdom come from the slave. The next day the king threw another banquet. The same guests came back. This time the king ordered the slave to serve the worst kind of meat he could find. Again, he served tongue - and only tongue. When the king began to scold the slave over this, he answered: "My Lord, can there be anything worse than the tongue? Treasons, deaths, violence, injustices, fraud, murder, wars - all are debated and decided by the tongue. The tongue ruins empires and countries, peoples and families. What is worse than the tongue?"
Relaxation They say that Saint John the Apostle liked to play with his pet sparrow from time to time. One day a hunter came to visit him and was surprised to see such a famous man playing. He surely could and should be making better use of his time. So he asked him, "Why do you waste your time playing? Why devote so much attention to something as useless as a sparrow?" Saint John looked at him in surprise and asked: "Why is the string on your bow not tight?" "Oh, you can't keep it tight all the time," the hunter explained, "otherwise it loses its tension and becomes useless for shooting arrows." So Saint John told him in return: "My friend, just as you always release the tension on your bowstring, so you must release the tension inside of you and relax. If I don't relax and just play, I have no strength for any great undertaking. I don't even have the strength to do what I have to and what is necessary."
Hope Many years ago there lived a very old man. Before his house stood two tall mountains that kept out the sunlight. He was not happy about this and so he sat down with his sons and all made a solemn promise that they would hack back away those two mountains A neighbor saw them go out with their hoes and shook his head. "How stupid can you get?" he screamed. "It's absolutely impossible for you to carry away those mighty mountains." The old man only smiled and said: "Well, when I die, my sons will carry on the work. And when they die, my grandsons will continue it. Yes, the mountains are high but they won't get any higher. But our strength can still grow. With every shovel full of earth that we carry away, we come closer to our goal." "It is better to do something than just sit around and complain that those mountains keep out the sunlight." With complete conviction the old man kept right on digging. God saw it and was moved to send two angles to earth. They lifted the two mountains onto their shoulders, and carried them off. Have faith that is great enough to move mountains.
Everyone has Problems A mother who had lost her only son went to the man of religion in her village and said: "Is there anything you can give me to reduce the pain that I feel?" "Yes," he said. "There is a wonderful thing you can do. I want you to go and get me a mustard seed from a home that has no problems. Such a mustard seed can ward off all problems. When you find it, bring it to me and I will use it to relieve your pain." So the mother started out and came to a big mansion. Nothing could possibly be wrong here! She knocked on the door, told what she was looking for, and they answered, "You've come to the wrong house." And then they told her all their problems. As she was listening to their problems, she thought, "I know something about problems... Maybe I can help these people with theirs." So she listened to them; and this helped people. She kept on searching for her magic mustard seed. But no matter where she went, she could not find that seed. Everyone everywhere had some kind of troubles. But she really did find the magic mustard seed, because in trying to help others solve their problems, she forgot all about her own.
God Needs Our Hands At the end of World War II a group of soldiers offered to help the people of a destroyed village in any way they could. But instead of asking for food, money, or farm equipment, the townsmen asked for help in restoring a statue. For years their proudest possession had been a statue of Christ in their own town square. Now it lay shattered into many pieces. Could the soldiers help put it together again? It was a difficult task, chips and pieces lay all over the square. Finally the statue was repaired except for two missing parts that the soldiers could not find. Finished, they covered the statue with a silken parachute, so that it could be unveiled in a ceremony before the townspeople, even though it was incomplete. On the occasion the mayor of the town gave a speech and pulled the cord of the silken drape... It dropped from the statue, showing a Christ without hands. At first the townspeople were shocked. Then they looked down at a sign which the soldiers had put at the feet of the statue. It said: "I have no hands. Won't you please lend me yours?"... "Whenever you did something for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me."
Treasure in Heaven A wealthy man lay on his deathbed. His entire life had been centered around money. As his life ebbed away, he presumed that in the afterlife, money would also be everything. So he gave orders that a purse filled with gold coins be placed inside his casket alongside his body. His last wish was carried out. In the next world it took the bookkeepers a long time to find his name in any of the good books. In fact it took so long that he got very hungry and thirsty just waiting. He looked around and sure enough, he saw an attractive eatery not far away. "Aha," he said to himself, "it's just like I thought. It's a good thing that I brought some money along with me." His mouth was already watering as he approached the restaurant. But before he sat down to eat, he was told that the money he had brought along had no value now. In fact, only money that was of any value now was the money he had given away on earth. The rich man dropped his head in deep thought, but could not remember having given any money away... so now he had none. As an Englishman of another stripe let his tombstone explain: "What I spent I had. What I kept I lost. What I gave I have."
Un-Selfishness There is a story about Saint Peter. He was taking a visitor to the next world on a tour. First they came to hell. It was like a big dining room with long tables all loaded with food. And still, everyone seemed skinny and half starved. They had a special way of eating here in hell: each one had a spoon with a handle which was two meters long. Now when the guest visited heaven he noticed that they had the same system of eating in their dining room. But here everyone seemed well fed. Noticing this, the visitor asked Saint Peter for the reason. "Well," he explained, "did you notice that in hell everyone tried to feed himself with that long spoon? Well, no one can reach his mouth, and so they are all starving. But in heaven everyone feeds everyone else with those long spoons. And so, everything goes just fine. We must think of the other person first and of ourselves, last.
Selfishness In Africa they have a special way of capturing monkeys. These wary little animals are very fond of rice. In order to capture them, local farmers put some rice inside a hollow coconut shell, into which they have cut a hole just large enough for the monkey's hand. Half a dozen traps like this are left lying around in the center of the village. But each one is attached by a string to a nearby house. A family of monkeys comes up, attracted by the smell of rice. Each slips its hand into a shell to get a handful of rice. But with its hand full, it is unable to remove it. The hunters then approach and easily gather in their prey. If the monkey would only let go of the rice, it would be able to get away from the trap that had been set for it. But it likes rice too much to give it up - even at the risk of life. How true it is, that the hand which is closed cannot receive - even freedom
A Candle One evening a man took a small candle from a box and began to climb a long winding stairway. "Where are we going?" asked the candle. "We're going up higher than a house to show the ships the way to the harbor." "But no ship in the harbor could ever see my light," the candle said. "It is so very small." "If your light is small," the man said "just keep on burning brightly and leave the rest to me." When they reached the top of the long stairs, they came to a large lamp. Then he took the little candle and lit the lamp. Soon the large polished mirrors behind the lamp sent beams of fight out across the miles of sea. A tiny candle or match can start a forest fire. The little flame can actually change the lives of others without you knowing it. Be a light to them like the beacon light in the story which guided the ships to safe harbor.
The Family Bible One day the pastor was trying to test little Anna on her religious knowledge. So he began by asking: "Do you attend Sunday school regularly?" "Oh, yes, father," she answered. "And you know your Bible?" "Yes, father." "Could you perhaps tell me something that is in it?" "I could tell you everything that's in it," said the little girl. "Indeed!" the priest smiled. "Do tell me then." "Well my sister's boyfriend's photo is in it," said Anna. "And my mother's recipe for cake is in it, and a lock of my hair which they cut off when I was a baby... and there's the guarantee to Dad's watch..." Question: Were these items in the family Bible because everyone was using it regularly? Or because it was never used, and so they were safe there?
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