Children, gather round and let me tell you a story. Three deceitful young men who could not get enough of their local brew lived together in a semi permanent house. Each man young man has his own room. It so happened that their parents had chased them away because of their deceitful nature and their love of alcohol. The young men would drink day in and day out. They would loiter in the streets leading up to the city and beg for money. They would often pose as cripples and then stretch out their hands in exchange for a few coins and a word of encouragement. They took the coins seriously but never listened to the words of encouragement. ‘What do these people know?’ they would often ask each other. They would also say, ‘we skim them off their money and use it to entertain ourselves. They work yet we eat their money by doing nothing.’ ‘Deceit pays’ was their motto.
Then one day, one of the men felt a bit ill and had to go to the city. As always, ‘deceit pays.’ This seemingly ill man told the doctor some conjured up sob story for the doctor to treat him free of charge and the doctor did so. Concern is a human emotion that often blinds us to the facts in certain circumstances. Nevertheless, the doctor felt that he was doing the right thing. You can even say that the doctor was better off not knowing the truth.
The doctor treats this young man and gives him some medicine free. Life could not be easier. However, the kindness of the doctor does not stop here. The story told by the young man really touched him. It seems as though the doctor had gone through similar hardships, as he believed this young man went through. The doctor invites this young man to his house for a meal and a place to rest for the night. Now, it is important for you to remember, this young man lives in a semi permanent house will his two companions. A permanent house is alien to him. He had only heard of such. He had even set foot in one but only as a guest. He had never lived, dined and rested in one for the night. It was totally life changing.
Sadly, he could not stay for long. The doctor has his family and this young man must find his own way. The doctor’s children wake him up the next day, the doctor’s wife prepares the morning meal for the entire family and then, as if this is not enough, the doctor offers him a gift of a large sum of money to help him as he goes back on his way. The doctor then tells him the story of how his life was tumultuous but how he overcame it by leaving old ways behind and turning to new ways of wisdom, truth and service. Just when the young man was about to leave, the doctor taps him on the shoulder and says, “We can all become what we are meant to be, we can all live how we want to live. Others choose a life of deceit and thievery; others choose a life of service and honour. Choose service and honour.”
This was an entirely new world for the young man. People actually live as though they have a life. This young man thought that moving out of his parents’ mud hut was the greatest achievement of his life but alas, things are different. People actually live well. Enlightened, this young man goes to his friends and tells them his new-found knowledge. His friends quickly ridicule him and one of them says, “We have a semi permanent house, the entire village lives in mud huts and each of us has his own room. We also live near the city. My friend, we are the envy of tens of young men from our village and yet here you are, asking us to be of service to those we so easily deceive. We can just as easily deceive them so that we become better off. You should take a good look at what you have and be grateful.”
This response greatly disappointed the young man. He now had new knowledge and new-found wisdom. He had seen a new way and what he has seen he cannot ignore. How can his friends ask him to be thankful for what others would consider poverty? How can his friends ask him to continue on a path of deceit and lies yet he now understands the power of service and honour? How can this way be the only way when he has already been witness to a new way?
The young man therefore refused to believe that what he has is good. He knew that he could be better. He knew that his friends could become more wealthy and successful by following a new way. He knew that whatever good now would be short-lived because a blurred vision of tomorrow will definitely be hurtful to anything built in the present moment. However, his friends would not understand. They would persistently urge him to think of the good they have but they would still not be willing to change their ways. How can he think of the good when the good that they have is nothing compared to what they could have? How can he think of the good that is when the evil that reigns overshadows it? How can an antelope thank God for rain when a hungry and ferocious lion is squeezing its throat? Truly, would this young man not be a fool or even worse, a deceit if he thinks of anything good when he and his friends are capable of so much more?
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