• A man lived near Rabbi Zusya. Because the Rabbi was very poor, the man gave him money each day so that the Rabbi could buy the necessities of life for himself and his family. Because of this, God rewarded the man handsomely. The man then thought, If God rewards me handsomely for what I give to Rabbi Zusya, wouldn’t God reward me even more if I were to give money to Rabbi Zusya’s master, who is an even better man than Rabbi Zusya? The man gave money to Rabbi Zusya’s master, but the man then suffered financial misfortunes. Therefore, the man went to Rabbi Zusya and asked why this had happened. Rabbi Zusya answered, “As long as you gave to those who had need, and did not worry about their worth, God did the same. But when you sought to give only to those who were worthy, God did the same.”
• During an audience that Pope John XXIII gave to several priests, he noticed one German priest who stood out because of his excellent clothing. As he discovered through the priest’s answers to his questions, the priest came from a diocese of millionaires. As the two men talked, the priest volunteered information about how he was able to coax the rich people in his diocese to give generously during the collection at Mass. Before each collection, the priest always said, “When the basket goes around, I don’t want to hear any clinking, only rustling.” This information made Pope John XXIII sad. He told the well-dressed priest, “Do you know, dear friend, that when poor men sacrifice a coin of theirs, that a part of their heart goes into the collection basket with it? … That’s the reason I would rather hear clinking.”
• One day, Nasrudin saw a beggar who asked him for money. When Nasrudin asked what the beggar needed the money for, the beggar replied that he wanted money to buy himself new clothing, to take his friends to a good restaurant for a good meal, and to finish the evening by taking his friends to a coffeehouse. Therefore, Nasrudin gave the beggar a coin of great value. Soon, another beggar came to Nasrudin and asked for money. When Nasrudin asked this beggar what he needed the money for, the beggar replied that he wanted to buy some bread and cheese. Nasrudin asked whether the beggar wanted some new clothing and to treat his friends to food and coffee, but the beggar replied that he had simple tastes and spent most of his time praying. Therefore, Nasrudin gave this man a coin of small value.
• Dr. Alfred G. Robyn, the noted Bach authority, composer, organist, and pianist, once went to a dentist for bridge work. The dentist was pleased to discover that his patient was a famous pianist and asked him to serve as accompanist for a series of recitals at which he — the dentist — was singing. Dr. Robyn agreed, but he was surprised when, after the recitals, the dentist sent him a bill for the dental work, itemizing such tasks as “examining teeth, cleaning teeth, preparing teeth,” and so on. In response, Dr. Robyn sent the dentist his own bill, itemizing such tasks as “opening piano lid, putting music on rack, playing on black keys, playing on white keys, closing piano lid,” and so on. Finally, Dr. Robyn compared the two bills — the dentist’s and his own — and added this P.S.: “You owe me fifty cents.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved