Taking Receiving Giving Part III of III

TakingReceivingGiving III

Giving

Acts 20.35 (the apostle Paul speaking) I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Experience that blessing.

Others have eyes: dress to bless. Avoid eye traps that grab their eyes to anything other than your beaming, blessing face. Practice body language that expresses unconditional love.

Others have noses: be sure to practice personal hygiene and be a sweet aroma for them. Be sure your sweet aroma is from the Lord (He provides many herbs and spices for this), and not from overpowering perfumes and chemicals.

Others have ears: sweeten your words with honey. Speak the truth in love. Season your words with salt. Let the Lord speak through you. Bless them with a musical, uplifting voice and laughter. Speak wisdom and solace and peace.

Others have skin: Bless them with respectful touch, hugs, and the softness of you.

Others have tongues for tasting: provide nourishing food when needed. Offer a cup of cool water.

Others have needs: Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to help meet those needs, be they material items, encouraging words, hugs, time, money, or whatever else God has given you for the giving to others.

We can only give according to what we already have (what we have already taken or received). Be sure to take abundantly from God so that you’re not transferring stolen goods to others.

God loves a cheerful giver. He Himself gives to us abundantly and cheerfully. May we, in turn, give His blessing to others.

Taking Receiving Giving Part II of III

TakingReceivingGiving II*

Receiving

Romans 15.7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. Assist in blessing others as they offer to you. Gracious receiving blesses everyone.

When others offer to give, don’t turn it down out-of-hand. Don’t let pride hinder the blessing. Come before God with a humble heart, and use the wisdom that He provides for correct discernment.

2 Corinthians 4.6, 7 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Beware: We should not always receive what others give. Don’t receive bad advice (King Solomon’s son, for example). Don’t receive any wooden nickels. Don’t receive stolen goods. Don’t receive others who intend evil (as Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and Nehemiah wisely declined evil offers).

*picture from google

Taking Receiving Giving Part I of III

TakingReceivingGiving I

Taking

Proverbs 1.19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

Are you a taker? Do you often take from others? Being a taker is different from receiving. Being a taker involves a decision on your part, and puts your needs at the top. (Receiving involves giving on the part of another.)

Beware: We can take lives, time, money, and other resources from others.

One from Whom you can always take is God. As you take from God, you have more to give.

Proverbs 2.6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

When you take, take according to God’s wisdom. “Take a young bull…” “Take words with you and return to the Lord…” “Take my yoke upon you…” “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ…”

Take God’s Wisdom. Wisdom is seeing things from God’s perspective. It is rightly dividing the Word of God.

Wisdom cries in the streets and at the gates to take freely from her. Proverbs 1. 20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, 22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Wisdom begs you to take, and to take freely. Wisdom is enduring, everlasting, and forever appropriate.

Why Read the Bible

WhyReadTheBible

2 Timothy 3.15 – 17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

First, let’s get some foundation:

  1. The Bible is Truth.
  2. The Bible is God’s inerrant Word.
  3. The Bible contains all we need for righteous living.
  4. The Bible is God’s love letter to us: His way of establishing, maintaining, and deepening our relationship with Him.

Read the Bible to discover Truth. When we don’t read God’s Word, we start making up our own truth, and living the way we think is right. That was the original sin with Adam and Eve: to be like God and know good and evil. Only God’s perspective is Truth. Whatever we think is good or evil is twisted according to our fleshly desires.

Read the Bible to balance your life. John 14.27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Read the Bible to understand yourself better. Hebrews 4.12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Read the Bible to understand how to relate to God. John 14.15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Read the Bible to understand how to relate to other people. Colossians 3.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. God’s Word provides insight into human behavior. It explains why we think the way we do, and how to correct our thinking. It gives us God’s perspective on love. what love is, and how to love one another when our flesh is unwilling.

As you read more of the Bible, it comes back to you more often. Whether you’re watching the news, conversing with others, or completing routine chores, God’s Word interjects itself into your meditations and thoughts. You will be able to make connections that you never thought of before. That’s because reading God’s Word provides wisdom.

Read the Bible in order to understand what not to do: Psalms 119.9-11 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. We must have some sort of plumb line so that we may live righteously. Wrong thinking leads to wrong actions, wrong feelings, depression, anxiety, and a sinful lifestyle.

To gain deeper understanding and appreciation for God’s Word, I direct you to Psalms 119. Read it. Read it often. Read it deeply. Use it as a springboard to read more and more of God’s Word.

5 TIPS TO SURVIVE THESE DAYS

Here are sage and calm words from Brenda to help us through these unique times.

Becoming HIS Tapestry

Hey friends, how are you today? How was your week? Did you miss me? I missed you guys.I missed the encouragements and the happenings in your life.So, how are you? What’s been going on in your life? Have you or someone you know been affected by COVID’19?

We’ve made three trips to Ohio in just about atwo-week period. We picked up the girls for spring break, took them back to school, went a few days later, to pick them up again.This time, the universities and colleges were advised to close for at least two weeks due to the threat of the virus.So presently, they’re completing their classes at home, which surprisingly, they do not mind.I do not mind the change either, it’s almost like homeschooling all over, except I’m not responsible for their classes; a blessing for which I am very thankful.I am very grateful that they’re home with us…

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Wisdom is the Principal Thing

WisdomIsThePrincipalThing

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4.7

Proverbs is something of a how-to book on how to live wisely (don’t mess with an angry man; fraudulent food ends up as gravel in your mouth; don’t get drunk and do stupid things; honor the king; don’t be a nagging wife, dripping incessantly on your husband; etc.). The entire book centers on wisdom. Chapter 8 especially lays out wisdom as the remedy for the simple, and outlines some of the many benefits of wisdom. Wisdom is

  • Excellent
  • Right
  • Truth
  • Plain
  • Better than rubies
  • Witty
  • Sound counsel
  • Understanding
  • Strength
  • Riches
  • Love
  • Creative
  • Blessed
  • Instructive
  • Life
  • Favor of the Lord

Wisdom is what leads us and allows us to obey God’s greatest commandment, Love:

Matthew 22.37 – 40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

James was the next-younger brother of Jesus. James grew up with the perfect role model in all things. He writes about wisdom in his book.

James 1.5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

From James we learn the importance of asking God for wisdom. I once heard a definition of wisdom: Seeing things from God’s perspective. There must be unimaginable peace when we see things from God’s perspective!

James 3.17, 18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

James tells us that wisdom (God’s perspective) is:

  • Pure
  • Peaceable
  • Gentle
  • Approachable
  • Full of mercy and good fruits
  • Without partiality
  • Without hypocrisy
  • Full of the promise of peace

I invite you to bow with me as we ask God for wisdom; and to study Scripture to learn what wisdom looks like, how God feels about wisdom, and the importance of receiving wisdom.

Dear Lord, I pray to be more like You. I desire to honor You in all I do, say, think, and feel. Your Word instructs me to get wisdom, and in order to get wisdom I must ask you in faith, not wavering. I do so now ask of You. Amen.

The Fool, the Simple, and the Wise

TheFoolTheSimpleAndTheWise

A quick search for ‘the fool’ in my Bible tool quickly turns up 15 verses. There are no verses where God has anything good to say about a fool.

Psalms 14.1, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. And exactly the same again in Psalms 53.1, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

So first, we see that a fool believes there is no God. He makes himself his own god, and that will always lead to his downfall. With himself as god, he is corrupt, he commits abominations, and does no good.

Romans 1.21, 22 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

There seems to be some difference between a fool and the simple. The fool sets himself up as god; the simple is just stupid, following hither or thither, wherever he is led by another. To be simple is to lack wisdom, to lack understanding: Proverbs 7.7 (I) beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding.

The simple fall into trouble; the fool makes trouble: Proverbs 1.32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. Proverbs 14.15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

But the Bible offers hope to the simple: Psalms 119.130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Psalms 19.7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Wisdom calls to both the simple and the fool: Proverbs 8.5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

A personal note: As a retired teacher of the mentally disabled, I will just say that anyone can be stupid. Stupid is not a matter of brain capacity, it is a matter of will and of temperament. Many of my severe/profound mentally impaired students had their wits about them and were productive contributors to our community. Other of my students were stupid, there was no getting around it.

Contrary to the famous quote by the character William Hundert in ‘The Emperor’s Club’ (“Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.”), God’s wisdom can change anyone.

So, we must be careful and consistent in proclaiming God’s wisdom. We do not know the hearts of those whom God has created, and it is not ours to judge as to whether anyone is wise, simple, or foolish. A Jesus noted, Matthew 5.22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, (empty, foolish. o empty one, i.e. thou worthless) shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, (dull or stupid, i.e. heedless, blockhead, absurd) shall be in danger of hell fire. And as the apostle Paul noted, Romans 1.15 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.

We serve a great and mighty God, and He can change anyone’s heart: Hebrews 12.11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Pray to God, and ask Him to search your heart Psalms 139.23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. Pray God to reveal and root out any errant foolish thoughts or simple ways; pray God for His wisdom: James 1.5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

The antidote to foolishness and simplicity: WISDOM!

Wisdom is a wonderful thing – you NEED wisdom!

Proverbs 4.7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Proverbs 2.10-12 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things.

Ecclesiastes 7.12,19 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it…. Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.

For further reading, I recommend Proverbs, Chapters 8 & 9

Other notes:

Proverbs 12.15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

Proverbs 1.32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them.

Proverbs 12.1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.

Fool: stupid fellow, dullard, fool, morally bad, despising wisdom and discipline

  • Strong’s Hebrew: 3684. כְּסִיל (kesil), 70 Occurrences translated to English fool or stupid
  • Strong’s Hebrew: 5036. נָבָל (nabal), 18 Occurrences translated to English a fool, or foolish
  • Strong’s Greek: 878. ἄφρων (aphrón), 11 Occurrences translated English fool or foolish
  • Strong’s Greek: 3474. μωρός (móros), 12 Occurrences translated English fool or foolish
  • Strong’s Greek: 877. ἀφροσύνη (aphrosuné) 4 Occurrences translated English as foolishness

Simple: perhaps open-minded, open to wisdom or folly, believing every word, lacking, needing, tendency to bad sense, easily entice or misled

  • Strong’s Hebrew: 6612. פֶּ֫תִי (pthiy), 19 Occurrences translated to English simple or naïve

Knowledge Wisdom Belief Truth

KnowledgeWisdomBelief

Knowledge my perspective: a result of learning, the state of knowing things. May be based on truth or lies and thus may be altered, negated, or destroyed.

From dictionary.com: acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject or branch of learning; the fact or state of knowing; the perception of fact or truth; awareness, as of a fact or circumstance

Wisdom my perspective: proper discernment of knowledge and how to apply it; how to rightly put knowledge together. Seeing things from God’s perspective

From dictionary.com: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight

Belief my perspective: interpretation of knowledge and wisdom, involving the heart; it is this upon which we act. Because this system involves feelings, attitudes, emotions, and perspectives, and may be based on truth or lies, beliefs are subject to change.

From dictionary.com: an opinion or conviction; confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof; confidence, faith, trust; a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith

Truth my perspective: anything and everything God says; God established truth; not subject to alteration, negation, or destruction; it is not in man’s power to change or destroy truth.

From dictionary.com: the true or actual state of a matter; conformity with fact or reality; a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like; actuality or actual existence; an obvious or accepted fact; truism; platitude

My heart’s cry: Lord, may I know and believe Your Word (Thy Word is Truth, John 17.17). Give me wisdom (James 4.2, 3; Proverbs chapters 8 & 9), that I may rightly divide Your Word (2Timothy 2.15) and apply it to my moment-by-moment actions, thought, words, and attitudes. May that which I believe ever align with all Your Truth, and may no lie slip in to cause disobedience (James 2.19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.). May I ever be guided by Your unfailing Love. Amen.

Tears of Gold (Revisited)

Originally posted Sept 16, 2018

TearsOfGold

There was once a poor man who cried and cried because he did not have enough money.  He cried in the morning because he had no fresh butter to put on his bread.  He cried in the afternoon because he had no horse on which to ride into town.  He cried at night because he had no hired servant to prepare his dinner.

Every day the man toiled at his house, alone but for the stray dog he’d adopted some months ago.  Every day he went through the motions of caring for his needs:  cooking his food, washing his clothes, tending his garden, caring for his cow and chickens.  And every day the man dreamed of having more money.

“Oh, for a fine carriage, with four graceful steeds to dance ahead of it.”  The man sighed and looked at his dog.  “Then I would not have to stay at this house all day.  Oh, for a stately mansion in which to live, instead of this hovel.”  On and on the man would dream, crying all the while for that which he did not have.

One day the man heard of an old witch who lived in a cave some distance from his home.  “I will visit this witch,” said the old man.  “Surely she will see that I must have more money.  Perhaps she can cast a spell to make my poor life more bearable.”

So the man and his dog took a journey to that cave.  The old witch stood near the opening, leaning upon a stick.  She fixed a shrewd eye upon the man.  “Hah,” she cackled, “you want money.”

The poor man looked up, astonished.  “Truly, she is a wise woman,” thought he.  He began to cry.  “Take pity on me, kind lady,” he said.  “I have never had enough money and have lived a hard life.  Can you help me?”

“Are you starving?” asked the witch.

The man stopped crying, shocked.  “Of course not.  I work hard to provide myself with something to fill my belly.”

“And your dog?”

“He gets the scraps from my table.”

“What kind of work do you do?”

The tears began to flow again.  “Every day I must get up, milk my cow, feed my chickens, tend my garden, cook my own meals, and keep my house clean.  When finally I tumble into bed at night, I scarce have time to enjoy a good book before I am fast asleep, so tired am I after the day’s exertions.”

“What do you need money for?”

The poor man mopped his eyes and blew his nose, to no avail.  The tears flowed faster than ever as he described to the witch what he could do with some money.  “Alas, I am able to enjoy only the barest of life’s necessities.  With more money I could buy a horse to travel to town.  I could buy some of the delicacies sold there, to embellish my dinner table.  I could hire someone to help me with my huge workload at home.  Ah, woman, the things I could do with a little money.”

The witch was silent.  She looked at the man as she chewed her lip with toothless gums.  She spoke.  “I have good news for you, Friend.  You will be a rich man, indeed.  Go home now.  I must work my spell.  When you wake up in the morning, you will see the magic I weave for you.”

The tears dried up.  “I’m going to be rich?” the man asked delightedly.  “How much will I get?”

“I said go home!” The witch answered fiercely.  “But leave the dog here.”

“What?”  the man asked, blankly.

“I said, the dog stays.”

The man shrugged.  “Do I need to do anything else?”

“Nothing.  Go home.”  She spun around and disappeared into her cave with the dog.

“Hee, hee!”  The man danced all the way back to his house.

Early the next morning, he awoke, eager to find his riches.  Without stopping to get dressed, he raced about his house, looking for the money.  Not on the table.  Hurry.  Not under the bed.  Hurry, hurry.  Not in the closet.  Where could it be?  He flung open the front door.  Not in his garden.  Run, run.  Not in his shed.  Maybe in the barn?  No!  He ran back into the house and began tearing the place apart.  Everything out of the dresser.  Everything out of the cupboards.  Nothing!

Finally, the man sat down at his table, panting.  That witch!  Nothing.  Nothing!  He began to cry.  He wept and wept that the witch had tricked him so.

Suddenly the man opened his eyes.   Something was happening.  Gold!  There was gold on the table, gold on the floor, gold in his lap!  From where had it come?  He reached up to wipe a tear from his cheek and drew his hand away.  There on his finger was a teardrop of gold.  His eyes darted to the other gold pieces.  They were all shaped like teardrops.

“Why, this is too fantastic,” exclaimed the man!  “Surely… Surely… But it is true!  I am a rich man!”  He pranced about in his nightshirt with glee, tossing golden teardrops into the air.  He listened to their tinkling music as they danced with him on the cobblestone floor.

Now the man’s dreams began to become reality.  He spent his gold with a flourish.  Ah, what fineries he enjoyed.  First, a fine white horse and a small carriage.  New pieces of furniture for his house, and new clothes cut in the latest fashions were fast to follow.  He ordered the tastiest delicacies from the baker and butcher.

The man threw away his old clothing, threw away his gardening tools.  He burned his rickety old furniture.  Soon all the gold he had cried that first morning was gone.

“Oh, my!” he wailed.  “I have not bought nearly all the things I most desperately need.”  The tears flowed again.  He opened his eyes, hoping.  He was ecstatic to see that his tears were still of gold.  He would be the richest man in the world!  He would never run out of gold!

Immediately, he started planning how he would spend his fortune.  Why spend so much trying to fix up this old hut?  Why not buy a new house?  And, he would certainly be very busy with his money; far too busy to worry about mundane household chores.  Servants!  He would need an army of servants to staff his new mansion.  And more horses and carriages.  He would need more and finer clothing: he was a man of import now.

And so it went.  The man spent his gold, and then cried more.  Soon he was having a hard time thinking of reasons to cry.  He couldn’t cry because of lack of money – he knew he could produce more any time he needed it.  He tried crying for other people’s problems, things he’d heard about in the town, but those were hard tears to squeeze out.  He had a hard time feeling sorrow for that which did not touch his own life.

One time he tried rubbing onions in, but the tears that came to his stinging eyes were only wet.  No, to produce gold, his tears had to be those of true sorrow.

“Wretched, wretched life!”  The man screamed.  “How am I to cry if I cannot feel sorry for myself?”  Tears began to flow again before he realized it, and quite a pile of gold was all about him before he stopped to wipe his eyes.

He used this tactic again and again, but soon found himself walking always in sorrow, trying to eke out a few more bits of gold.  He would stroll aimlessly about the echoing halls of his mansion, take excursions in his fine carriage pulled by six graceful steeds, spend hours in his counting house, sifting through his gold.  All this he did with dry-eyed sadness.

He found he did not want to cry again.  How did he no longer enjoy his mansion, his horses and servants?  Why did he always feel he had to cry, had to have more gold?  What was to become of him?

The man went for a walk one day.  He found himself at the cave of the old witch.

She hobbled out and leaned on a rock, her gnarled hands gripping her stick.

“So,” she said slowly, “you return.”

The man kicked the dirt with his tooled leather boot and hung his head.  “I have everything I need now,” he said, “everything I’ve always wanted.”  He shrugged.

“Yet you still are not happy.”

The man sighed.  “I thought if only I could buy whatever I wanted, then I would be happy.”

“And you aren’t’?”

The man was silent.

“You must be very careful what you wish for.  Sometimes it’s not something you truly want.”  She gave her toothless smile.  “But sometimes it is.  You are a rich man.”  She turned and went back into her cave.

The man left and wandered through the fields.  He stopped by a tree and sank to the ground.  “Money!” he spat out.  “How could I have thought it would make me happy?  This is not what I had in mind.”

Money and sorrow were now forever linked as one in his soul.  Perhaps he could go back to his garden, his cow and chickens.  At least work could take his mind off his sorrows, off his money.   Where was happiness?  Joy was not to be found in money; he had at least learned that.  Contentment, maybe, could be found in the work of his hands.

He was just starting to rise when he heard rustling behind him.  He looked around, and there was his dog, tail wagging.  His dog!  A friend!  The man felt instantly guilty, knowing he had not given the dog a second thought after leaving him with the witch.  Yet, here was this dog, a gift sticking its nose under his arm.  Maybe this is what the witch had meant, a gift to make him rich.  He pulled the dog to him, hugged him and nuzzled his head against the dog’s.  The touch, the willingness of the dog to come close to him, suddenly overwhelmed the man, and he began to shake deep inside.

He felt tears welling up in his eyes.  “No!  No more gold!”  He pushed his hands against his eyes.  Try as he might, he could not stop the tears.  He sobbed and sobbed with grief, rocking back and forth as he held his dog.

Suddenly he stopped.  He rubbed his eyes.  His hands came away wet.  Wet!  Wet tears!  The words of the old witch rang in his ears, and he smiled.  “I am a rich man, indeed.”  He laughed and laughed as the tears of joy ran down his cheeks.  They rolled onto his fingers and he held them up.  Truly, these were tears of gold.

Tears of Gold

TearsOfGold

There was once a poor man who cried and cried because he did not have enough money.  He cried in the morning because he had no fresh butter to put on his bread.  He cried in the afternoon because he had no horse on which to ride into town.  He cried at night because he had no hired servant to prepare his dinner.

Every day the man toiled at his house, alone but for the stray dog he’d adopted some months ago.  Every day he went through the motions of caring for his needs:  cooking his food, washing his clothes, tending his garden, caring for his cow and chickens.  And every day the man dreamed of having more money.

“Oh, for a fine carriage, with four graceful steeds to dance ahead of it.”  The man sighed and looked at his dog.  “Then I would not have to stay at this house all day.  Oh, for a stately mansion in which to live, instead of this hovel.”  On and on the man would dream, crying all the while for that which he did not have.

One day the man heard of an old witch who lived in a cave some distance from his home.  “I will visit this witch,” said the old man.  “Surely she will see that I must have more money.  Perhaps she can cast a spell to make my poor life more bearable.”

So the man and his dog took a journey to that cave.  The old witch stood near the opening, leaning upon a stick.  She fixed a shrewd eye upon the man.  “Hah,” she cackled, “you want money.”

The poor man looked up, astonished.  “Truly, she is a wise woman,” thought he.  He began to cry.  “Take pity on me, kind lady,” he said.  “I have never had enough money and have lived a hard life.  Can you help me?”

“Are you starving?” asked the witch.

The man stopped crying, shocked.  “Of course not.  I work hard to provide myself with something to fill my belly.”

“And your dog?”

“He gets the scraps from my table.”

“What kind of work do you do?”

The tears began to flow again.  “Every day I must get up, milk my cow, feed my chickens, tend my garden, cook my own meals, and keep my house clean.  When finally I tumble into bed at night, I scarce have time to enjoy a good book before I am fast asleep, so tired am I after the day’s exertions.”

“What do you need money for?”

The poor man mopped his eyes and blew his nose, to no avail.  The tears flowed faster than ever as he described to the witch what he could do with some money.  “Alas, I am able to enjoy only the barest of life’s necessities.  With more money I could buy a horse to travel to town.  I could buy some of the delicacies sold there, to embellish my dinner table.  I could hire someone to help me with my huge workload at home.  Ah, woman, the things I could do with a little money.”

The witch was silent.  She looked at the man as she chewed her lip with toothless gums.  She spoke.  “I have good news for you, Friend.  You will be a rich man, indeed.  Go home now.  I must work my spell.  When you wake up in the morning, you will see the magic I weave for you.”

The tears dried up.  “I’m going to be rich?” the man asked delightedly.  “How much will I get?”

“I said go home!” The witch answered fiercely.  “But leave the dog here.”

“What?”  the man asked, blankly.

“I said, the dog stays.”

The man shrugged.  “Do I need to do anything else?”

“Nothing.  Go home.”  She spun around and disappeared into her cave with the dog.

“Hee, hee!”  The man danced all the way back to his house.

Early the next morning, he awoke, eager to find his riches.  Without stopping to get dressed, he raced about his house, looking for the money.  Not on the table.  Hurry.  Not under the bed.  Hurry, hurry.  Not in the closet.  Where could it be?  He flung open the front door.  Not in his garden.  Run, run.  Not in his shed.  Maybe in the barn?  No!  He ran back into the house and began tearing the place apart.  Everything out of the dresser.  Everything out of the cupboards.  Nothing!

Finally, the man sat down at his table, panting.  That witch!  Nothing.  Nothing!  He began to cry.  He wept and wept that the witch had tricked him so.

Suddenly the man opened his eyes.   Something was happening.  Gold!  There was gold on the table, gold on the floor, gold in his lap!  From where had it come?  He reached up to wipe a tear from his cheek and drew his hand away.  There on his finger was a teardrop of gold.  His eyes darted to the other gold pieces.  They were all shaped like teardrops.

“Why, this is too fantastic,” exclaimed the man!  “Surely… Surely… But it is true!  I am a rich man!”  He pranced about in his nightshirt with glee, tossing golden teardrops into the air.  He listened to their tinkling music as they danced with him on the cobblestone floor.

Now the man’s dreams began to become reality.  He spent his gold with a flourish.  Ah, what fineries he enjoyed.  First, a fine white horse and a small carriage.  New pieces of furniture for his house, and new clothes cut in the latest fashions were fast to follow.  He ordered the tastiest delicacies from the baker and butcher.

The man threw away his old clothing, threw away his gardening tools.  He burned his rickety old furniture.  Soon all the gold he had cried that first morning was gone.

“Oh, my!” he wailed.  “I have not bought nearly all the things I most desperately need.”  The tears flowed again.  He opened his eyes, hoping.  He was ecstatic to see that his tears were still of gold.  He would be the richest man in the world!  He would never run out of gold!

Immediately, he started planning how he would spend his fortune.  Why spend so much trying to fix up this old hut?  Why not buy a new house?  And, he would certainly be very busy with his money; far too busy to worry about mundane household chores.  Servants!  He would need an army of servants to staff his new mansion.  And more horses and carriages.  He would need more and finer clothing: he was a man of import now.

And so it went.  The man spent his gold, and then cried more.  Soon he was having a hard time thinking of reasons to cry.  He couldn’t cry because of lack of money – he knew he could produce more any time he needed it.  He tried crying for other people’s problems, things he’d heard about in the town, but those were hard tears to squeeze out.  He had a hard time feeling sorrow for that which did not touch his own life.

One time he tried rubbing onions in, but the tears that came to his stinging eyes were only wet.  No, to produce gold, his tears had to be those of true sorrow.

“Wretched, wretched life!”  The man screamed.  “How am I to cry if I cannot feel sorry for myself?”  Tears began to flow again before he realized it, and quite a pile of gold was all about him before he stopped to wipe his eyes.

He used this tactic again and again, but soon found himself walking always in sorrow, trying to eke out a few more bits of gold.  He would stroll aimlessly about the echoing halls of his mansion, take excursions in his fine carriage pulled by six graceful steeds, spend hours in his counting house, sifting through his gold.  All this he did with dry-eyed sadness.

He found he did not want to cry again.  How did he no longer enjoy his mansion, his horses and servants?  Why did he always feel he had to cry, had to have more gold?  What was to become of him?

The man went for a walk one day.  He found himself at the cave of the old witch.

She hobbled out and leaned on a rock, her gnarled hands gripping her stick.

“So,” she said slowly, “you return.”

The man kicked the dirt with his tooled leather boot and hung his head.  “I have everything I need now,” he said, “everything I’ve always wanted.”  He shrugged.

“Yet you still are not happy.”

The man sighed.  “I thought if only I could buy whatever I wanted, then I would be happy.”

“And you aren’t’?”

The man was silent.

“You must be very careful what you wish for.  Sometimes it’s not something you truly want.”  She gave her toothless smile.  “But sometimes it is.  You are a rich man.”  She turned and went back into her cave.

The man left and wandered through the fields.  He stopped by a tree and sank to the ground.  “Money!” he spat out.  “How could I have thought it would make me happy?  This is not what I had in mind.”

Money and sorrow were now forever linked as one in his soul.  Perhaps he could go back to his garden, his cow and chickens.  At least work could take his mind off his sorrows, off his money.   Where was happiness?  Joy was not to be found in money; he had at least learned that.  Contentment, maybe, could be found in the work of his hands.

He was just starting to rise when he heard rustling behind him.  He looked around, and there was his dog, tail wagging.  His dog!  A friend!  The man felt instantly guilty, knowing he had not given the dog a second thought after leaving him with the witch.  Yet, here was this dog, a gift sticking its nose under his arm.  Maybe this is what the witch had meant, a gift to make him rich.  He pulled the dog to him, hugged him and nuzzled his head against the dog’s.  The touch, the willingness of the dog to come close to him, suddenly overwhelmed the man, and he began to shake deep inside.

He felt tears welling up in his eyes.  “No!  No more gold!”  He pushed his hands against his eyes.  Try as he might, he could not stop the tears.  He sobbed and sobbed with grief, rocking back and forth as he held his dog.

Suddenly he stopped.  He rubbed his eyes.  His hands came away wet.  Wet!  Wet tears!  The words of the old witch rang in his ears, and he smiled.  “I am a rich man, indeed.”  He laughed and laughed as the tears of joy ran down his cheeks.  They rolled onto his fingers and he held them up.  Truly, these were tears of gold.