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A Parable

Here’s a parable worth sharing that I heard today.

Once upon a time there was a teenager from an extremely wealthy family. He had no financial worries and could afford anything he wanted from the family coffers. His grandfather was getting on and nearing his end, so called the young man into his room to distribute some of his estate.

The teenager eagerly went into the room filled with anticipation about his imminent windfall. Grandfather said to him, “I am about to go the way of all men. Before I go, I want you to have my greatest treasure. It is so valuable that you need to pay me for it. You need to pay me $1000 that you have earned, not merely what is stored up for you.”

The grandson’s interest was piqued, but only somewhat, by this unique challenge. He waited a few weeks, then went to a savings account and withdrew the money. He took it to his grandfather, curious about this magnificent treasure. His grandfather took the money and without comment threw it all into the fire, to his grandson’s astonishment. Then he turned to his grandson and said, “This treasure is too valuable to buy with money you already have. Come back when you have earned the $1000.”

So the boy waited several months. Then his curiosity got the better of him, so he got some more money out of his account, and thinking that the first set of bills looked too new, he crinkled them, got them dirty and so on. He visited his grandfather. As before, the old man took the money simply and threw it into the fire, and said, “This treasure is only obtainable with earned money. Go, and make the $1000 dollars and come back to me.”

This time, the grandson was sufficiently intrigued that he started doing odd jobs, and made money however he could, working for a year to save up the required sum. Finally, tired, but with pride, he walked into his grandfather’s room and handed him the money. He once again accepted it and threw it into the flames. At this, the grandson dove towards the fireplace and tried to retrieve the disappearing bills, burning his fingers in the futile effort.

His grandfather put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and pulled him back. “What’s the matter? It is only money like the other times. It is the same sum. Why are you upset?”

The grandson stammered, “But I earned that money! It is mine!”

The old man smiled, and said, “That is the best treasure I can give you. Never lose it. You care about the things you have earned through your own labor, and do not value what comes cheaply or easily.”


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