There was once a man well along in years. He acquired more than many of his peers. Though he was very wealthy… a strange thing occurred to him. He seldom had any company. A few friends yes, yet no one to share his life with… in the deepest way.
He spent many years of his life looking for someone to carry out his wish… that his fortune be used to bless others.
Though many knew of him, the wonders of his hands.
Few knew his name. Few knew his soul.
Yet… he loved humanity.
One day, word was brought to his ear of two men. Two faithful servants of the estates of his friends.
Their masters moved on from the region, so they were available for hire.
The man was delighted to hear of them and sought them out.
For he had an idea in his witty old mind.
The day came to meet them.
The first one called came before him.
He was of an outspoken personality. Not only was he studious, wise, and able. He was head and shoulders above many in accomplishments, skills, and charm. He also had the build to match.
“A worthy one… I wonder.”
The man twiddled his beard as the young servant stood before him.
“Young lad… let me propose something to you. I see you that are a wise, able servant. Yet… when you serve why do you do it?”
The young man looked into his questioner’s eyes.
“Why… it is what I do best! I adore bringing honor to my master’s house.”
He bowed at the waist before his potential new master.
“Then my boy…”, the man said with a rasp, “no honor shall you bring me, or my house.”
The young servant still bowed — raised his head hurriedly to look up at the man. Visibly shaken and wide-eyed.
He was without words.
“My boy. I see your works, your zeal, and your passion. But I have been in this life for a long while…”
“You shall bring me no honor – for the only honor that matters to you is your own. You are not fit to oversee my affairs. You are excused.”
The young servant – red in the face – cursed beneath his breath as he was led out of the main hall of the house.
The man groaned in disappointment.
“Shall the next lad come forward?”
The room was quiet, and then the sound of light footsteps started to approach the man.
For the number of years that he had on him… he could see well.
He saw a young lad with a slender, muscular build. There was a grace in his stride.
“Explains how he walks.” He thought.
The young lad then stood before the man’s chair.
The man saw deep brown eyes… ones that could calm a storm.
Then the young lad spoke.
“You called for me sir?”
“I did lad. That I did.”
“My boy… I have heard of you. I have heard of the things you have done. And I see that you are a wise, and able servant.”
The lad blushed somewhat.
“Yet… when you serve. Why do you do it?”
The lad turned his gaze to the ground for a moment.
“Sir… I have served all my life. It is the only thing I have known.”
The man leaned forward a bit, for the lad had a gentle voice.
He didn’t lean to hear him. He was responding to his heart gripping him.
He would soon know why.
“I have served great masters, and ones whose names are long forgotten. Some kind, and some cruel. The truth of the matter is this. I don’t know why I do it. But…”
Now he was truly listening closely.
“Whomever I served. Rich or meager. Kind or cruel. I did so in the fashion that I would hope someone would serve me. In this… I found meaning. Even if there was none to be found around me.”
The man felt tears start to well up inside him.
“This man is exactly the type that I am looking for.” He thought.
The man cleared his throat, and with a rasp he began to speak.
“Then my boy… you shall bring me honor.”
The lad was shocked white. Wide eyed… he could not believe the words he was hearing.
“For I have seen your works, your zeal, and your passion. As you can see, I have been in this life a long while now. I have yet to find someone such as yourself in your humility, and sincerity.”
The lad didn’t know what to feel or do.
“The truth of the matter is this.”
The lad felt the heavens stand still.
“I have no need for a servant. For some serve me gladly. Rather… I want someone to inherit the wonders of my hands.”
The lad’s heart was in his throat.
“My boy… this day that man shall be you.”
The lad stood up yet another moment, and then he fell to his knees with hot tears streaming down his face.
The man rose from his chair and stepped towards the lad.
“My boy… why are you crying?”
“Because…”, said the lad, “my integrity has never been acknowledged before having met you.”
The man chuckled.
“Well… whomever you served before was more blind than an old goat.”
The lad sniffled and rose. He wiped his face.
“Sir… you could have chosen anyone in the world to bestow this upon. Why me?”
The man gently grinned.
“My boy, it is true that what I am to give to you is unearned. You put all of your sweat and toil in serving others, as you said, ‘some kind and some cruel’, but though it is unearned… it is not undeserved.”
The lad was obviously puzzled.
“There was a lad before you whom I asked the question that I asked you. And his pride and conceit were evident. That lad is undeserving to bear my riches. For my wish is for them to bless others. For a man with his heart shall only bless himself, and strangely curse himself as well. For once he squanders all that he was given as a gift for all upon his own vanity… he shall find more than a loss of a fortune. He shall find the loss of his soul.”
The lad started to understand.
“As for you… you served out of the integrity of your heart. Truly… you have not earned a penny of my fortune, but you are not unworthy to bear it. For with the days of your life you lived to bless others… not merely to bless yourself. Your identity finds its sense of meaning in helping whom you can, serving whom you can, and blessing whom you can… in the same way that you would hope someone would help you.”
The lad understood.
“You gave before you received, I’d imagine even when you had little to offer. That being said… a small rudder can steer a large ship. Likewise, a humble heart can wisely command a vast fortune. A heart such as your own.”
There was silence for a good moment. There was peace.
“I don’t know if I am ready sir.”
The man chuckled.
“My boy, no one is. Not even I… nevertheless, shall you receive this gift?”
He looked into the man’s eyes.
“I shall sir. Thank you.”
The man smiled.
“No lad… thank you.”
I suppose there always was a future for me. Thought the lad.
The Spirit within him agreed and said this.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive my son. Those who are last shall be first, and those who are first shall be last. You are honored before me, for many are called… but few are chosen. Receive this honor… and live.”
“I shall… Holy One.”
That he did.