Sunday, January 20, 2008

PARABLE: One bucket per person!

"Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, 'Behold, we are your servants.' But Joseph said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.'"
Genesis 50:18-20
I had been told my work would end, just as the others’ would end, when the canyon was emptied … or when I died, whichever comes first. Ages ago, during an extremely violent natural disaster, the canyon had been filled with rubbish and debris. The owner had a special place in his heart for this canyon and wanted it cleared.

One bucket of refuse was removed by each of the owner’s servants each day. When the canyon was empty all our labors would end. In the early days, my bucket was not too difficult to carry, it didn’t seem so much to take just one bucket of trash out of the canyon each day.

After months of load bearing, I noticed the canyon wasn’t emptying very quickly; it was then my bucket began to grow heavier each day. And it was then I began to grumble, reflecting often on my initial, though foolish, optimism.

I now began to wonder if the others, those who carried their loads out before and after me, were just slackers, pretending to carry a bucket of waste each day. Or perhaps they found a way to get out of doing the work altogether. Maybe, I thought, the owner has favorites, or shows favoritism.

One day I complained loud and long until one of the owner’s assistants arrived to see what all the commotion was about. After listening patiently and carefully, the assistant agreed to take the issue up with the owner.

The next day the assistant returned just as I was about to go out for my daily bucket of litter. “Follow me, we’ll get you another bucket.” He said. Soon we entered an equipment yard where buckets of every kind, large and small, were scattered about.
In the middle of the yard was one tremendous bucket. “Whose is that?” I inquired.

“Oh, that one belongs to the owner,” the assistant said. “Every day he carries one bucket of trash just like the rest of you.”

“What about those other buckets? The really big ones?” I asked. “Those belong to the owner’s special assistants. The largest red one is mine.” He responded.

It was then I saw a small bucket, over in a corner. My mind instantly grasped the significance of this small bucket. If I had the smallest, I would never have to worry about others carrying less junk than me. “I’ll take that one! It’s perfect.” I exclaimed.

“That’s interesting,” the assistant said. “Why?” I asked curiously. “Because that’s the the one you came in with!” The assistant said softly.

So you think your burdens are too heavy? The Lord’s is heavier! You think others are slackers? Perhaps their burden is enormous compared to yours! You think you’re asked to do too much? Perhaps you’re not asked to do enough! Perhaps you think you’re one of God’s special agents! Perhaps you’re not so special at all! Perhaps you’re load is right where it ought to be!

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