A way to save our world is what we sorely need...
A way to save ourselves as well, from compulsion, pride, and greed.
Now Guiseppe was a VERY religious man. He could have been a "good Baptist," but of course, they hadn't been invented yet either. He gave to the poor; he talked to God all the time (which caused people to look askance at him since there was no one else present when he rambled on and on aloud to the Divine, as he often did); when he was not working, he attended religious services, all kinds, regularly; he read the holy scrolls daily; he meditated every night when he couldn't sleep, which happened a lot lately; and he often preached "the good word" to the other poor stragglers he met on the road of life, urging them to turn themselves over to God and to get involved in one type of religious activity or another. "Take the spiritual path. It leads to peace and joy. You will be glad you did," he enthusiastically urged all who would listen.
As their financial ship sank further into the abyss of debt, Guiseppe thought of religious things all the time, and continually worried, "What am I doing wrong? Why is God so displeased with me that He turns a deaf ear?" Since their business was so slow and there was little actual work to do, he went to church meetings every day, and began nagging Guilda to come with him, thinking that perhaps if they showed God how serious they were at serving him, He would finally answer their prayers. Soon, he had become so totally obsessed with guilt over his failure to be able to help others, and his worry over trying to figure out how to get back into God's good favor, that he often forgot to eat, to work, or even to sleep.
One day, as he was pacing around, praying out loud in the front yard, Wick, the Village Candle Maker stopped by to pass the time of day. "My God, man! What happened to you? You look terrible! You have to stop working so hard! Look how much weight you have lost! Why, the bags under your eyes have bags!"
"Times are tough, my friend. Business is bad. We are out of money, and worse, I cannot seem to get God to answer my prayers. I no longer know what to do," Guiseppe moaned.
"You had best do something soon, old friend. You look like you would have to get better to die," remarked Wick dryly.
"Die? I cannot afford to die right now because I think God is angry with me. I must have done something horrible, but I cannot remember just what" lamented Guiseppe.
"Well, I hope you figure it out, and while you are at it, repent for the King's sins as well because he shows no signs of doing it, and things are going from bad to terrible all over the Kingdom," observed Wick as he walked away shaking his head.
Right after Wick left, Guiseppe began pacing and praying aloud in earnest. He repented of everything he could think of having done, and some things he had not. "It cannot hurt," he assured himself.
As the days wore on, he prayed out loud more and more, and often paced around in the front yard as he was praying, much to the consternation of customers and passersby. "Why do you not stop already? You are not helping anything and you are making me crazy," shouted Guilda, finally, at the end of her temper holding abilities.
The only effect her words had was that he stopped pacing in front of the cottage, and moved his operation to the cow pasture in the field behind their cottage.
The next day after Wick's visit, he was back out there pacing around, praying out loud, and paying no mind to the cattle or anything else. Totally lost in his problem of how to get money, he was still pleading with God to help him, when he tripped over a branch and fell head first into a "Pasture Muffin." This was not just your regulation sized "cow pile," but the largest one he'd ever seen. (Fortunately, it was nearly dried up).
Right away, he understood intuitively that he had received a "sign from heaven," about his problem. He brushed himself off the best he could and ran to the cottage to tell Guilda about the grand plan that had just popped right into his head when he fell. "It is time to stop with the nickel and dime requests," he explained excitedly to Guilda as he burst through the door. "I have had a 'sign from heaven' that I should ask God for a million dollars."
"Why would God give that money to us and not to someone else?" ridiculed the astonished Guilda as she finished the drink in her glass. She had found the spirit that comforted her most these days was in the ale jug. "Your face is quite dirty," she observed, emboldened by the ale, "and you smell worse than you look."
"God will help us," Guiseppe reasoned, washing his face in the kitchen dish water and wiping it with a towel, "because we never think of ourselves first. We sacrifice our own needs to serve others. God could trust us with the money. Think of all the good we could accomplish! Just think of the folks we could help. We could help more people than we have ever helped in our entire lives. It would be wonderful and the Lord would be so pleased with us!" Momentarily transfixed with joy, he fell silent as he strode vigorously around the room, contemplating his visions of service to the poor and needy, and his restoration into God's good graces.
He paced up and down the room with his hands clasped together in an attitude of silent prayer, and at last, his blue eyes sparkling, he smiled at Guilda and asked, "Well, what do you think?"
"Never mind me! What would the neighbors think?" she demanded. "How would we explain our new found riches to them? Besides, they would all have their hands out right away." Still, the idea of being rich sounded good to her. Her clothes were old and out of fashion. Though they were clean and patched, she longed for the rustle of silk and the elegance of satin.
"They would not have to know," her patient husband responded. "We would still live here in this modest little house and conduct our affairs in the same frugal way we always have." Guilda's face fell at that solution, and she poured herself another glass of ale.
"We would not need a new horse either," Guiseppe went on. "This one will be good as new when we can fatten him up. He will work fine when we can feed him better. Who is to know we have money?" Clearly he had thought about this a lot! He walked around the room briskly once more as he warmed to his topic. Guilda was not convinced, thinking that his wacky, hair brained ideas did little to put food on the table.
"Well, what about King Ferdinand?" she demanded, trying a different tack. "His Royal Emissaries would be sure to find out and then the Royal Tax Collectors would have their hands out for the Kingdom's cut which would be horrendous. Not only that, but, it would put us in a higher tax bracket this year, and when the money is gone, we will be worse off than we were before," Guilda wailed.
"The King need never know either, if we quietly use the money to help others and do not flaunt it around the neighborhood." Guiseppe insisted.
"But who would we help?" continued Guilda, appealing to his logic. "What yardstick would we use to decide who needs help? What if we actually hurt someone by giving them money when they need to trust God and their own abilities instead?"
"Oh, not to worry," soothed Guiseppe, "How can we hurt anyone by helping them? What a silly idea! God will be so pleased that I have turned out so well considering how my poor father raised me. Of course, if was not his fault that he drank so much. He just could never resist a drink. But, do not worry, all of that will be forgotten in the village when I am able to really help folks, and God will show us what to do with the money, and who needs help; do you not see that?"
"Well, maybe," she conceded doubtfully, having learned that once Guiseppe got hold of an idea, he never let it go, worrying it around like a cat after a mouse. "But, where would we put the money in the meantime? If we put it in Kingdom First National Bank, the Royal Exchequer would be notified about such a vast amount and would ask a lot of unpleasant questions. You can count on that!" Her negativity momentarily had him stumped.
He pondered this objection for a few days, and finally came up with a solution. "We would have to bury the money in the ground somewhere, or maybe stash it in the back yard fruit cellar, where we could get to it when we needed it. Or maybe we could even go to 'The Dinky Kingdom' beyond the great woods where your Mother lives and deposit it in their bank. Our King has no right to ask them questions, nor do they report to him who puts money on deposit." He felt very pleased with himself for his clever ideas on how to resolve this tricky problem. Clearly, he was convinced, even if his wife was not that it was a wonderful idea to ask God to give them A MILLION DOLLARS!
"Well, I think your brain has snapped from overwork and worry, but do whatever you feel you must," she said, at last. She had grown weary of arguing with him, and her patience had finally worn out. "Just count me out when they haul you away in the loony wagon," she snapped, as she dismissed the whole ludicrous idea from her mind. She didn't like the idea of keeping the money buried in the back yard.
"What good is money if you cannot go on a spending spree?" she wondered to herself. But, thinking that her husband had taken leave of his senses, and was presently more than slightly "out to lunch," she figured the best thing to do was to just have another glass of ale and keep still until the lunacy passed like her mother, Maude Ann, had advised her to do on many occasions. She decided it was best to go about her daily chores and leave the weightier matters of saving the world to her husband. "At least he is better off than his father was," she consoled herself. "Or, I think he is," she added as an afterthought.
To be continued.....
Lenny and Jan Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Forward to The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter One
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Two
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Four
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Five
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Six
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Seven
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Eight
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Nine
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Ten
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Eleven
The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Twelve
The Glory Road
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This site was created on 06/12/10
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister
and last updated on 10/02/10.