Once upon a time, there was a very poor man who’s sole means of survival was to beg along a road in his little village. Every day, this man would set out his little mat by the side of the road, with two bowls on it – one for the alms that people would give him, and one that held the rice that he would purchase with the alms.
But one day, the entire village was filled with excitement by a rumor that the generous, rich King of the entire realm would be passing through their little town. And it was known that this King would sometimes give away great sums of gold to those whom he would chance to meet.So the man, along with the entire village, was hugging the side of the road in breathless anticipation. And sure enough, at about mid-day, the King’s impressive entourage was seen approaching the village. And the poor man knew this was his chance. As the King passed by, he went ballistic, shouting and jumping and calling on the King to have mercy on him. “ALMS FOR THE POOR! ALMS FOR THE POOR! HAVE MERCY OF A POOR, UNFORTUNATE BEGGAR!!!”
And to the surprise of the entire village, the King stopped and walked over to the beggar. And what was even more surprising was what the King said. He said, “Has your life been one of only misery, and no joy? Surely you have something you can give me to bless my day.” And he looked down at the beggar’s bowl with rice in it and said “How about giving me some rice? I’ve traveled far today and I’m pretty hungry right now.”
This was not how the beggar had anticipated things going. And inside himself, he thought “Give you my rice?! GIVE YOU MY RICE??!! I’m a poor beggar! You’re the rich guy – you should be giving ME something!”
But his next thought was this: “This guy’s the King. What he’s asking from me is wrong, but if I don’t give him a little something, he might have me killed!”
So the beggar hesitatingly reached down and took five grains of rice and put them into the King’s hand. And the King looked down at his hand…then into the beggar’s eyes…and said “Alright then!” Then he returned to his entourage and off they went, with a very puzzled beggar watching them fade into the sunset, along with his dreams for wealth and happiness. And he yelled at the King (after he knew he was out of earshot), “MISER!! TYRANT!!”
But then he happened to glance down — and to his great surprise, there in his alms bowl were five gold coins… one for every grain of rice he had just given the King. And then he looked over at the bowl of rice, which had THOUSANDS of grains of rice in it — and the horrible realization finally dawned on him: If he had been generous with his rice, he would now have a fortune. But because of his own miserlyness, he had very little.
And how often do we treat Jesus the very same way? We keep back many important areas of our lives, instead of entrusting them to His care – and then we wonder why our lives are so lacking in abundance, power and healing.
But the good news is that, unlike the King in the story above, our King does not leave town, never to return. And because of this, my friends, NOW is the time to repent for our self-centeredness, unbelief and spiritual miserlyness, by placing our lives once again on the altar of God. And when we really do this, we can expect His blessings to once again begin to flow in our lives. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”