My friend and former colleague Sarah Farnes, Program Manager for the University of St. Thomas Office for Spirituality, recounted yesterday a simple story that a friend had shared with her.
A man named Ralph bought a nice home with a garden, full of fruit trees. His neighbor, William, was very envious of Ralph and his garden. Because of his envy, each day, William would sneak into Ralph’s yard and deliver a basket full of garbage.
One day, Ralph took the basket, removed the trash and cleaned it very well. He selected the best fruit from the trees in his garden and filled the basket. With the basket in tow, Ralph set out to William’s home. As William saw Ralph approaching his home, he rushed to the door, prepared to engage in a fight with his neighbor.
As William opened his door, Ralph handed him the basket and said, “Here you go. Each person should share, as a gift, the treasure and the good that he has.”
William was speechless. While he was sharing garbage, Ralph shared the best fruit that he had to offer.
How do we decide what to share with others? Do I return to them what I think they are “owed” based on what they give to me? Or do I share “as a gift, the treasure and good” that I have.