Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just an old chair

Sarah stood in front of the dusty old shop in Nazareth and looked again at the chair. It carried scars of abuse, yet even they didn't distract from the quality of workmanship or the general condition of the chair. True, it needed repair but every few days she looked at it with longing, hoping one day to save enough to purchase it for her own modest home. As a seamstress, her wages were meager but she managed regularly to deposit a few more coins in the small, clay pot hidden behind her bed.

After several months, Sarah hurried to the shop, counted out her coins to purchase the old chair which was by now covered with dust blown in from the desert sands.

"I don't know why you'd want this chair in the first place," commented the shopkeeper. "You can have it for a little less since no one else has ever shown any interest in it and it's not worth much. I'd guess it's about 75 years old."

Dusting it off with the hem of her long robe, Sarah thanked the shopkeeper and tenderly carried the small chair to her home. She kept it next to the open window where she read or often rested after a long day's work.

Sarah lived alone. Her three grown sons lived in Nazareth but only one came by with any regularity to visit. Ben was the youngest and displayed more interest and affection for his mother than the others.

For the next several years, Sarah suffered declining health and began to require more care. Ben dutifully brought her meals, kept her as comfortable as her bedridden state would permit. Sitting beside her bed in Sarah's favorite chair, Ben read to her or recounted events of his childhood, stories which made his mother smile in faint remembrance.
One morning, with her breathing more labored than usual and sensing that her time was near, Sarah whispered to Ben that after her death she wanted him to have her favorite chair.

Ben held his mother in his arms as she drew her last breath, then laid her back against the pillows, covered her tenderly, then hurried across town to get his two older brothers.

Thomas and Seth helped prepare her for burial and attended the traditional service. Sarah was buried with her fore bearers in the designated spot near their place of worship.

After the burial, the three young men returned to their mother's home to discuss the disposal of her material possessions. There was a small table, a bed, some urns, several items of clothing, clay pots, and a few items that had been passed on to Sarah from previous generations. It was these items that Seth and Thomas began arguing over. Each claimed rights to them, each claimed their mother had promised the items to him.

Each remained intractable.
Ben remained quiet throughout the afternoon as his brothers' tempers flared and their voices grew more agitated. Finally, Ben said "I only want something to remember mother by. Just anything will do. I would be just as happy with this old chair, since I often sat in it beside mother's bed to talk to her during her long illness."

The older brothers, relieved that at least Ben was out of the equation, reached a compromise and began removing the furniture, clothing and other items from their mother's home.
Ben took the old chair to his house where he dusted it, tears spilling down his cheeks. He remembered his mother so often sitting in the chair with her sewing on her lap. It was still a good chair and had been crafted by careful and experienced hands. Maybe it wasn't worth much to someone else, but it held great value to him because it had belonged to his mother.

He turned the chair over to make a minor repair. Hidden in an obscure place behind one of the legs were carved these words: "Carpentry by Jesus of Nazareth."

Wonderful share mom!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Unemployed Graduate

An unemployed graduate woke up one morning and checked his pocket. All he had left was $10. He decided to use it to buy food and then wait for death as he was too proud to go begging. He was frustrated as he could find no job, and nobody was ready to help him.

He bought food and as he sat down to eat, an old man and two little children came along and asked him to help them with food as they had not eaten for almost a week. He looked at them. They were so lean that he could see their bones coming out. Their eyes had gone into the socket. With the last bit of compassion he had, he gave them the food. The old man and children prayed that God would bless and prosper him and then gave him a very old coin. The young graduate said to them 'you need the prayer more than I do'.

With no money, no job, no food, the young graduate went under the bridge to rest and wait for death. As he was about to sleep, he saw an old newspaper on the ground. He picked it up, and suddenly he saw an advertisement for people with old coins to come to a certain address. He decided to go there with the old coin the old man gave him.

On getting to the place, he gave the proprietor the coin. The proprietor screamed, brought out a big book and showed the young graduate a photograph. This same old coin was worth 3 million dollars. The young graduate was overjoyed as the proprietor gave him a bank draft for 3 million dollars within an hour. He collected the Bank Draft and went in search of the old man and little children.

By the time he got to where he left them eating, they had gone. He asked the owner of the canteen if he knew them. He said no but they left a note for you. He quickly opened the note thinking it would lead him to find them. This is what the note said:

'You gave us your all and we have rewarded you back with the coin,'

signed God the Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost.

1 Kings 17:10-16; Matthew 11:28-30

Thanks mom!