Seven Parables and Stories for the Week: Issue 31

There was a king who wanted to pick his heir out of his three sons. They were twins, clever and brave, so he had a hard time choosing.
He asked a sage for advice, and the sage gave him an idea.
The king asked his three sons to come to his chamber, gave each of them a bag of flower seeds, and said that he was leaving for a years-long pilgrimage. The one who will preserve the seeds until the king returns, will inherit the kingdom.
The first son did not think for a long time and simply put the seeds into a vault.
The second son thought, “If I put them into a vault, the seeds will die.” He went to a shop, sold his seeds and decided to buy the same seeds before his father’s return.
The third son went to the garden and threw the seeds wherever there was some empty space.
Three years later, the king came back. The first son took dead and rotten seeds out of his vault.
The father said, “These aren’t my seeds. My seeds could sprout but these seeds will never flourish.”
The second son hurried to the shop, bought some seeds and gave them to his father. However, the king said, “These aren’t my seeds, either. Mine were of a unique sort.”
The third son led his father to the garden where thousands of flowers blossomed. He said, “These are the seeds that you gave me. As soon as they are ripe, I’ll gather them and give them back to you.”
“That’s my heir!”

Elder Amphilochius (Makris) was the rector of St John the Theologian Monastery at the Island of Patmos. He founded several monasteries, children’s shelters, and almshouses in the Greek islands.
The wise elder often used parables to make a point:
– Christ often comes and knocks at your door, and you invite him to sit in the antechamber of your soul. Then you get distracted by your problems and forget about the Great Guest. He sits there patiently waiting for you, and when you don’t return for too long, He gets up and leaves.
Sometimes you are so busy that you respond to him out of your window. You have no time even to open the door.

Love is like flowers. You can’t store or accumulate flowers. If love blossoms in your heart, you have to share it. The more of it you share, the bigger it grows.

– I knew a man who hated the Cross, – a monk told a professor. – First, he forbade his wife to wear a christcross and hang a crucifix on the wall of their home. Then he started breaking roadside crosses (he lived in a country where they erect crucifixes at crossroads). He axed a hedge after he noticed that its branches intertwine in the shape of crosses. When he returned home, he was already mad. He saw crossed ceiling beams and furniture frames, and didn’t stop until he smashed everything…
– Is it a true story? – the professor asked.
– Oh no, – the monk replied, – it’s a parable! It’s a parable about people like you. First you deny the cross, and then you deny everything in the world. First you hate everything that doesn’t boil down to logic and then you hate everything because there isn’t anything in this world that can be reduced to pure logic.

A little girl is coming from the Sunday School back home. She meets an atheist who notices a happy smile on the kid’s face.
– Why are you so happy? – the atheist asked.
– I go home from the Sunday School.
– Well, and what did they teach you today? – he decided to make fun of the girl.
– They told us a story from the Bible about Prophet Jonah who had been swallowed by a big fish.
– How can a man survive being swallowed by a fish and how can a fish swallow anyone?
The girl thought for a moment but then responded:
– I don’t know how it happened but when I go to the paradise, I’ll meet Jonah and ask him.
– What if Jonah is in hell? – the atheist asked.
– Well, then you will ask him.

What Shall You Tell God?
What will the Lord ask you about? And what will you tell him?
God won’t ask you what car you had. – He will ask you how many people you gave a lift to.
God won’t ask you how big your house was. – He will ask you to how many people you gave shelter in your house.
God won’t ask you whether your clothes were stylish and fashionable or not. – He will ask you how many people you gave clothes to.
God won’t ask you what you possessed. — He will ask what possessed you.
God won’t ask you how much you earned. – He will ask you what ways you used to earn your income.
God won’t ask you what position you had. – He will ask you if you carried out your duties honestly and diligently.
God won’t ask you how many friends you had. – He will ask you how many people considered you their friend.
God won’t ask you how many times you told the truth. – He will ask you how many times you lied.

Someone asked a holy hierarch three questions:
– What is the greatest thought worth thinking? What is the greatest worry worth being concerned about? What is the greatest anticipation worth waiting for?
That was what he said in response:
– The thought about God’s Providence in the life of a human is the greatest thought worth thinking because it makes your soul wise and blissful.
The worry for the salvation of one’s soul is the greatest worry worth being concerned about because one’s soul is the greatest treasure, and the greatest treasure demands the greatest care.
The anticipation of death is the greatest thing worth waiting for. It cleanses one’s conscience and motivates us to do good.

Translated from: azbyka.ru/days