Words for the week

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a weekly Monday ritual. I spend time praying for my family, friends and faith partners and share with them some nugget of encouragement for the week. Sometimes it’s a sentence. Sometimes a paragraph. Sometimes a story.  I’ve discovered each one had a special meaning to some one at some time. The message just resonated with them at just the time they needed it most. I never know who until after the fact.

And sometimes, that special meaning is meant for me.

This morning was an example. I was feeling somewhat deflated, unappreciated and overwhelmed. I was tempted to forego my weekly ritual and just broadcast a pithy one liner. But my sense of {spiritual} duty wouldn’t allow that.

I came across a story, one that has been around for awhile. I’m pretty sure I had heard it before, yet I had never heard it. It was the preamble to my prayers. It went like this …

A woman baked bread for members of her family and an extra one for a hungry passerby. She kept the extra bread on the window sill, for whosoever would take it away.

Every day, a hunchback came and took away the bread. Instead of expressing gratitude, he muttered the following words as he went his way: “The evil you do remains with you; the good you do comes back to you!”

This went on, day after day. Every day, the hunchback came, picked up the bread and uttered the words: “The evil you do remains with you; the good you do comes back to you!”

The woman felt irritated. “Not a word of gratitude,” she said to herself. “Everyday this hunch-back utters this jingle! What does he mean?”

One day, out of desperation, she decided to do away with him. “I shall get rid of this hunchback,” she said. And what did she do? She added poison to the bread she prepared for him! As she was about to place it on the window sill, her hands trembled. “What is this I am doing?” she said.

Immediately, she threw the bread into the fire, prepared another one and kept it on the window sill. As usual, the hunchback came, picked up the bread and muttered the words: “The evil you do remains with you; the good you do comes back to you!”

The hunchback proceeded on his way, blissfully unaware of the war raging in the mind of the woman. Every day, as the woman placed the bread on the window sill, she offered a prayer for her son who had gone to a distant place to seek his fortune. For many months, she had no news of him. She prayed for his safe return.

That evening, there was a knock on the door. As she opened it, she was surprised to find her son standing in the doorway. He had grown thin and lean. His garments were tattered and torn. He was hungry, starved and weak. As he saw his mother, he said, “Mom, it’s a miracle I’m here. While I was but a mile away, I was so hungry I collapsed. I would have died, but just then an old hunchback passed by. I begged of him for a small part of his food, and he was kind enough to give me a whole bread. As he gave it to me, he said, ‘This is what I eat everyday; today, I shall give it to you, for your need is greater than mine!’”

As the mother heard those words, her face turned pale and red. She leaned against the door for support. She remembered the poisoned bread she had made that morning. Had she not burnt it in the fire, it would have been eaten by her own son, and he would have lost his life!

It was then she realized the significance of the words: “The evil you do remains with you; the good you do comes back to you!”

When I started my “words for the week” way back yonder, it wasn’t to get anything back. I was just a way to pray for my family and friends and give them a little encouragement. And the ministry has grown over the years, from five to 10 to around 25 and now 62. And they do give me feedback, telling me when the message was just “right.”

My “words” experience also was a key impetus for starting this blog. I hoped — and hope — to give a little encouragement as we journey through life.  And I hope my new audience also gives me feedback, telling me when the message is just “right.”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Do good — and don’t ever stop doing good — even if it’s not appreciated at the time.

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About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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