Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Rich Man

A rich man loved to ride his horse through his vast estate to congratulate himself on his wealth. One day on such a ride, he came upon Hans, an old tenant farmer, who had sat down to eat his lunch in the shade of a great oak tree. Hans' head was bowed as he prayed. When he looked up he said, "Oh, excuse me, sir. I didn't see you. I was giving thanks for my food."

"Humph!" snorted the landowner, noticing the coarse dark bread and cheese constituting the old man's lunch. "If that were all I had to eat, I don't think I would feel like giving thanks." "Oh," replied Hans, "it is quite sufficient. But it is remarkable that you should come by today, sir. I...I feel I should tell you, I had a strange dream just before awakening this morning." "And what did you dream?" the man asked with an amused smile. "It seemed there was beauty and peace all around, and yet I could hear a voice saying, 'the richest man in the valley will die tonight.'" "Dreams!" yelled the landowner. "Nonsense!" And he turned and galloped away.

"Lord, have mercy on his soul if he really is to die so soon," Hans prayed as he watched horse and rider disappear. The rich man could not somehow put the conversation from his mind and that evening he called his doctor. When the doctor arrived, he told him the whole story. "Sounds like a lot of nonsense to me," the doctor said, "but for your peace of mind, let's examine you." A little later, his examination complete, the doctor assured the man that he was strong and healthy. "There's no way you're going to die tonight." The man thanked his doctor and told him how foolish he felt for being upset by an old man's dream.

It was about 7 a.m. the following morning when a messenger arrived at the landowner's door. "It's about old Hans," the messenger said. "He died last night in his sleep."

Who really was the richest man? Jesus said, "What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul?" - Mark 8:36

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