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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
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might live... Take our parents, our teachers, ...

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
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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
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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. Bu 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 proveit?" 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?
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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....
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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.

Forgiveness of Sins
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A missionary on one of the islands was sitting in


his cool seaside hut one day when one of the
village women came in, carrying a handful of
dripping sand she had just picked up off the
beach. "Do you know what this is?" she asked.
"It looks like sand," said the missionary. "Do
you know why I brought it here?" she asked.
"No. I can't imagine why," the padre answered.
"Well, these are my sins," the women
explained. "My sins are as countless as the
sands of the sea. How can I ever obtain
forgiveness for all of them.?" "You got that sand
down by the shore, didn't you?" said the
missionary. "Well, take it back there, and pile it
up into a heaping mound of sand at the water's
edge. Then you sit back and watch the tide
come in and slowly wash away the pile
altogether. That is how God's forgiveness
works."...

In Isaiah 1:18 God says to the people: "Now,


let's settle this matter. You are stained red with
sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow.
Although your stains are deep red, you will be
as white as wool."

The Validity of Religions


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Down at the local coffee shop, two farmers


were arguing about the validity of their
respective religions. A third farmer listened fro
a while and then observed out loud: "I've been
bringing' my wheat here to this same mill for
over forty years. Now, there be two roads that
lead up to the mill. Never once, friends, has he
miller asked me which road I take.

He just asks: 'Is your wheat good?'"

Life is Like An Echo


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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.

Bible For Illiterates


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Four clergymen were discussing the merits of


the various translations of the Bible. On liked
the King James version because of its simple,
beautifullanguage. Another liked the American
Standard version best because it comes closer
to the original Hebrew and Greed. The third
liked Moffatt's translation best because of its
up-to-date words. The fourth clergyman was
silent. When asked to express his opinion, he
replied: "I like my mother's translation best."

The other three expressed surprise and wanted


to know what he meant. "Well," he explained,
"my mother translated the Bible into her
everyday life, and it was the most convincing
translation I ever saw."

Faith in God
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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" (James 2: 24)
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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 againstthis tiny light that wanted to
shine.

An old saying goes: "It is better to light one


candle than to curse the darkness."
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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."
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Sincerity

They tell a story about the wise King Solomon


of the old Testament. 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."
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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.

Did it ever occur to you that when you envy


somebody or you are jealous of somebody, that
this does not hurt that person in any way... He
or she does not feel it at all... It only hurts you:
it eats your insides out... So, you see, that it is
a useless, self-destructive exercise. As Ben
Sirach says in the Old Testament "Envy and
anger shorten one's life." [Sir. 30:24]
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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.
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In Luke 12:15 Jesus says to the crowd: "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 personas 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
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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?"

When would have the slave served your


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
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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."

The recess break which gets us out of the


classroom or office is a very necessary part of
work and education. We will need it later on in
life if we want to do a good job for a long
time...

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
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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.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul talks


about having faith great enough to move
mountains. [1 Cor. 13:2].

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
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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
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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 withouthands. 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?"...

Matthew 25:40 says: "Whenever you did


something for one of the least important of
these brothers of mine, you did it for me."

Working for God

Joe had always been a helpful neighbor and so


the lady next door asked him if he could drive
her little son to the hospital. Actually, Joe had
other plans but he did not know how to say no.
So he sat the little boy onto the car seat,
fastened his seat belt, and started off on the
50-mile trip to the hospital. As they were
driving along, the little boy slowly turned to Joe
and asked: "Are you God?" Startled, Joe said:
"No." The boy continued: "I heard my mommy
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asking God for some way to get me to a doctor.


If you are not God, do you work for God?" Joe
replied: "I guess so - sometimes. And now that
you ask, I will be doing it a lot more."

Are you on God's most current employee list...?

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
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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."

Listening

A man realized that he could not hear very well


and that he had to buy a hearing aid. But he did
not want to spend much money on it. So he
went to the store and asked the clerk, "How
much do hearing aids cost?" "Well" said the
salesman, "it depends. They run from two
dollars to two thousand .'' "Let me see the two
dollar model," the man said. The clerk hung a
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string around the man's neck. "Just put this


button in your ear," he said, "and stick this
string in your pocket." "How does it work?"
asked the customer. "It doesn't work. But when
people see it on you, they'll speak louder."

Actually most of our communication problems


are not due to people speaking too softly, Most
of us are not good listeners. Big companies
know that people want to be listened to. One
company uses the motto: "We listen better, and
another company says, "We hear you." As one
little girl promised, "I'll try to listen louder."

Un-Selfishness

They tell 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
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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.

This is a good example of Christianity in


practice. We 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
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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
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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.

We are God's candle. Our job is to keep on


shining. The success of our work is in His
hands. A tiny candle or match can start a forest
fire. The little flame of your good example 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."
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"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?

Doing a Good Job

They tell the following story about the famous


Polish pianist Paderewski. A mother had a little
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boy who was learning to play the piano. In


order to encourage him she took him to a
concert by the famous Paderewski. Both of
them arrived at the music hall a bit early and
soon the mother got into a conversation with
one of her lady friends. Meanwhile, the little
boy wandered off....When it was eight o'clock,
the spotlights came on and the stage curtain
opened. And there was that little boy seated at
the piano innocently playing that children's
song, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." Paderewski
came on stage and quickly moved over to the
piano. "Don't quit. Just keep on playing," he
whispered to the little boy. Then he leaned over
the boy and put his hands onto the keyboard
right alongside the little boy's. The little boy
kept repeating and repeating "Twinkle, twinkle,
little star" and meanwhile the genius was
weaving all kinds of new melodies around it, a
different one each time. The crowd was thrilled
by this unpreparedconcert.

As we play our little melody in our daily life,


God whispers to us, "Don't quit, Keep on
playing..." And He makes a masterpiece out of
our simple music.

Helping a Man in a Hole


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A man was walking along and fell into such a


deep hole that he could not get out. So he
began to shout very loud for help. A learned
professor came along and found him. He looked
down into the hole and began to scold him:
"How could you be so careless as to fall down
there? You should be more careful. If you ever
get out again, watch your step." And with that
he walked away. Then a holy man came along.
He looked down into the hole and told the man,
"I'll reach down as far as I can and you reach up
as far as you can. If I can grab your hand, I'll
pull you out." But it did not work: the hole was
too deep. So the holy man said he was sorry,
and left the trapped man to his fate. Then
Christ came along. He saw the man's problem,
and without asking him any questions, he
jumped down into the hole. Then he let the
man climb up onto his shoulders, and even
onto his outstretched arms. And the man got
out.

This is known as being personally involved. A


Christian gives his life for another.