One of the greatest things a human being can do is to give of himself to serve others. Many people fear giving because they worry that they will have less. But there is a law of abundance at work in the universe. Whenever we give selflessly, unasked for, we end up having more.
Once there was an elderly man from Arabia. He had three sons. When he was nearing his end, he called his sons to his deathbed and told them, “When I die, you are to divide my belongings.” He turned to his oldest son and said, “I want you to take half of my worldly possessions.” Next, he turned to his middle son and said, “I want you to have one-third of my belongings.” Finally, he told his youngest son, “You shall have one-ninth of my worldly belongings.”
Shortly thereafter, the elderly man died. When an account was taken of his possessions, it was discovered that all he owned were seventeen camels. The sons began to discuss dividing up the seventeen animals.
It was impossible to divide the camels exactly as their father had asked. They began to fight among themselves about their share. Not knowing what to do, they went to a friend of their father’s for advice.
The friend realized that the seventeen camels could not be divided into a half, a third, and a ninth.
He thought for a while and said, “I am poor. I own only one camel. But if I add that camel to your herd, you can divide the camels according to your father’s wishes and have harmony among yourselves.”
When he added his camel to the seventeen, there were eighteen camels, which could easily be divided as the boys’ father wished. To the eldest he gave one half, that is, nine camels. To the middle son, he gave one third, which turned out to be six camels. To the youngest, he gave one-ninth of eighteen, which turned out to be two camels. The boys left happily. When the elderly friend turned around, he realized that lo and behold, his own camel remained! He thanked God, saying, “O God, Your wisdom surpasses all understanding!”
This story illustrates that we never lose when we give. The elderly man was so selfless he was willing to give his only possession away for the dignity of his friend and to preserve harmony among his friend’s sons. Yet, it turned out that the camel was useful to help divide the herd and was not really needed otherwise. So the friend was left with the camel that was his, anyway.
We may have experienced an opportunity to give something away to someone in need, making a sacrifice, only to find that it was either returned to us or circumstances changed and we did not need to give it away. Yet, regardless of the result, we were rewarded with the feeling of satisfaction of having sacrificed for others. We feel God’s blessings showering down upon us. We thank God that we chose to give rather than to be selfish.
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