July 17, 2009

The Joyful Catholic / Rick Hermann

To find joy in your life, give it away

Rick Hermann Once, a rich farmer saw many poor people in his village and he was moved to tears.

So he gave his son a $100 bill and said, “Son, I want you to take this money and give it to someone in need.”

The boy ran into town, looked around and spotted a destitute man on the corner. He stuffed the $100 bill into the man’s dirty hands.

Surprised, the poor man immediately ran into the food store and purchased $100 worth of food from the grocer.

Delighted, the grocer ran to pay his debt of $100 to the butcher.

Eagerly, the butcher ran to pay his debt of $100 to the baker.

Thankfully, the baker ran to pay his debt of $100 to the candlestick maker.

Gratefully, the candlestick maker ran to pay his debt of $100 to the grocer.

The grocer then ran to the boy’s house and knocked on his door.

When the boy opened the door, the grocer handed him the $100 bill and exclaimed, “Thank you, your generosity has paid everyone’s debts! The whole town now looks to the future with optimism. Here is your $100 bill with my gratitude.”

Joyfully, the boy ran to his father to return the money, and his father said, “Well done, my son.”

This old-fashioned story shows what each of us can do with a dollar, a smile or a kind word.

Whenever you give someone a dollar, a smile or an encouraging word, it’s like tossing a pebble into a pond. The ripples spread outward, infinitely, until they cover the entire pond.

Try it today and remember “One man gives freely, yet gains even more” (Prv 11:24).

The next person you meet, smile and pay him a sincere compliment or say an encouraging word.

Watch as your words bring a smile to his face and brighten his day.

Imagine him, inspired by you, giving a similar compliment to another person, and so forth.

Your one compliment may multiply endlessly.

This phenomenon is described by scientists as “The Butterfly Effect.” When a butterfly flaps its wings, it creates tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately cause or prevent a tornado on the other side of the planet.

This idea that one butterfly could eventually have a far-reaching ripple effect on subsequent historic events was made famous by meteorologist Edward Lorenz, who said, “One flap of a butterfly’s wings could change the course of weather forever.”

If one flap of a butterfly’s wings can change the weather on the other side of the Earth, imagine what you can do with a kind deed or an encouraging word!

Let’s be generous and spread our blessings around. Give your gifts freely to others and watch them multiply.

We cannot know the extent of our influence, especially when we allow God to work through us.

When we cooperate with God, even the smallest things we do may cause big changes in others.

You may be happy and healthy, or sad and uncertain about your future, but you can still toss a pebble of joy into the sea of life.

Your Creator is waiting to help, so just pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in me and through me, on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:9-10).

Then stand by and let the mighty power of God work through you. Let him redeem you and use you to help change the world.

Jesus said, “A farmer went out to sow his seed … it came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown” (Lk 8:5).

(Rick Hermann of St. Louis is a Catholic author and career coach. His e-mail address is RH222@sbcglobal.net.)

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