The Riches of Faith
By Matthew Joyce
There once was a poor man who had little more than the clothes on his back. The poor man sat on a rock beside the road and pondered his future.
“I sure could use a little help,” he said to himself.
Then much to his surprise a well-dressed gentleman came strolling up the road.
“Good day, sir,” said the gentleman, doffing his top hat as he approached.
“Good day indeed,” said the poor man, taking off his stocking cap in return.
“I say,” observed the gentleman, “you appear to be a bit down on your luck.”
“Never a worry,” replied the poor man as he returned his cap to head.
“So I hear you say with your mouth, but my eyes tell me otherwise,” said the gentleman. “I do believe you are just right person to give this to.”
And with that the gentleman reached into the pocket of his waistcoat and pulled out a golden nugget nearly the size of his fist. “This is for you,” he said, extending his hand to the poor man.
The poor man stared at the golden nugget before him, but he didn’t reach for it.
“Go on. Take it,” said the gentleman. “It’s worth a fortune. It will bring you a life of riches.”
“Thanks, but no. I couldn’t,” said the poor man.
“Really, it’s fine. I was once in a situation similar to yours,” said the gentleman. “I was down to my last dollar when I met a rich man on a road. He gave me this nugget as I’m giving it to you. I never ended up selling it, but it changed my faith in myself and my life. And now I’ve decided to pass it on. I’d like you to have it so you can share in the good fortune.”
“Well thank you then,” said the poor man, thrilled with his sudden good fortune.
“Use it well,” smiled the gentleman as he continued down the road.
Until long after the gentleman had disappeared, the poor man sat staring at the massive nugget he’d just received. He could not stop smiling. Providence had smiled upon him. He felt rich as never before, but more than that he felt confident in himself and his faith in the future.
Finally he stuck the nugget into his pocket and he continued along the road.
When he got to town his good luck continued.
He was offered a job that very afternoon. And he did that job so well that he was soon promoted. And before long he’d managed to save enough to buy a business of his own.
Later he married, bought a home, and raised a family. And somehow through it all he never sold the nugget. There had been no need to do so.
And so years later when he was old and quite prosperous himself, the man began to contemplate the golden nugget that had changed his life. He thought of willing it to his children or grandchildren, but then he thought better of it. He had plenty to pass along to them.
“I should pass this on to someone who can really use it,” he said to himself.
And so he placed the golden nugget into the pocket of his waistcoat and he set out on a walk down the road.
As chance would have it, he soon encountered a man who appeared down on his luck. His clothes were threadbare and his shoes were worn.
I remember those days, thought the man as he patted the nugget in his pocket. “Good day to you sir,” he called out to the poor man walking his way.
“Morning,” replied the poor man.
“You appear to be a bit down on your luck,” the rich man observed.
“Indeed I am,” said the poor man.
“Then your luck is about to change,” said the rich man. “A very long time ago, I was once as you are now. I had naught but the clothes on my back and the hope of a better life, when I met a fine gentleman who gave me this.”
Then he pulled the golden nugget from his pocket.
The poor man’s eyes lit up, but he restrained himself from reaching out.
“The gentleman who gave this to me said it changed his life and his fortune. He too was down to his last dollar when someone gave it to him. And then upon receiving this, his luck changed. He never needed to sell it,” said the rich man. “Somehow neither did I. My faith and fortune rose as soon I received it.”
The poor man never took his eyes off the nugget. He hardly seemed to listen.
“Now I’d like to pass it along to someone who could use a change in faith,” said the rich man.
He held out the golden nugget. The poor man received it with a look of amazement. “I don’t believe it,” he said. “It’s almost too good to be true.”
“May it bring you good fortune as it did me and the man before me,” smiled the rich man as he set off down the road.
The poor man didn’t wait but a moment. He tucked the nugget in his pocket and ran all the way into town.
When he got to town he went straight to the assayer’s office to have the gold appraised for sale.
“This isn’t gold,” said the assayer. “It’s iron pyrite. Fool’s gold.”
“But it brought a fortune to the men who had it before me,” stammered the poor man.
“Sorry,” repeated the assayer.
So the poor man tossed the golden nugget away, never realizing the riches of faith.
May you always know the riches of faith regardless of your fortune,
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