Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Unopened Gifts - a Parable About God's Blessings

This is a parable I used in a Sunday Morning Class when I was giving a talk about God's blessings. I hope you are challenged by it.

          During the age of empires there was a wealthy family of aristocrats who lived on an estate with hundreds of acres of land and a mansion. They were part of society where everyone was careful of social rules and behavior.  The son, Jason, was a bachelor and this was becoming an embarrassment to the family.  The mother, Lady Margaret, decided to do something about this.  She inquired of all the proper families who had a daughter of age and finding there were several who were not only beautiful but of many excellent good qualities, she arranged a tea to introduce these prospective brides to her son.

          The day of the tea arrived and the young ladies came one by one to the tea. Then Penelope entered. Jason saw her as she entered and was immediately enthralled with her beauty. She was gracious and talented, gifted in intellect and all social graces. She sat down to the harp and played such beautiful music that the birds seemed to stop singing to listen. When introduced to the young man she smiled such a dazzling smile that even the sun seemed to pale.  He was smitten, and hardly left her side during the tea.

         The next day Jason sent her flowers.  "She will see I am interested in her," He thought to himself. "She will send a polite note saying thank you, and how she liked the flowers,"  A day past and no thank you note came. After several days of waiting for a note or acknowledgement Jason worried that she either did not get the flowers or was not aware that it was he who sent them. He asked in the county village if any servants of her estate knew of the flowers. "Oh yes sir." A washer woman told him. "We at the estate saw the flowers they were truly beautiful, but such a shame." Why do you say that?" He inquired. "The flowers came with a lovely note, but she never put the flowers in a vase, they just lay on the entry table and withered up."  Strange, the young man thought.

          A few days later a party was hosted by Lady Margaret for a charity and Jason attended hoping to again see the beautiful young Miss Penelope.  The little chamber orchestra was at the center of the party and Penelope played wondrously on her harp. After the performance she moved through the crowd and to Jason she was as beautiful as ever and as polite and charming as any woman would ever be.  They talked together and she told him how she always wanted a certain sheep dog, a collie. "Oh, he thought. I'll send her a gift of a fine purebred collie." That very afternoon he went to a breeder of dogs and learned where could buy a pure beautiful Collie.  He bought it and had it sent to her by his servant with a tender note. Waiting a few days later the young man wondered why she did not respond to his gift with a letter of thanks, or a visit.  He rode his horse the long ride across the county to her estate and heard a whimper. Behind the stables was a pen and the dog was chained up cruelly and unfed. In only a few days the poor dog had sores and it's coat was matted and muddy. "Hey you." he called to a stable hand. "See this dog here why is it kept like that? Don't you know it is a purebred and a does Miss Penelope know it is here like this."  "Yes sir the poor dog arrived just the other day and Miss Penelope after reading the note given by the servant ordered it to be put here."  The young man rode away. Confused.

       One day the orchestra was to entertain the governor of the county at the county hall. The young man got wind of this engagement and made arrangements to attend hoping to catch her eye and maybe see the beginning of a hopeful romance.  He arrived early, and took a seat to await the performance. "Perhaps coming early may prove good fortune." He thought, "I may have a few words with her before as well."  He watched to see her entry. Musicians were milling about finding their seats.  Then he saw her, she entered the hall having just climbed the marble steps outside. As she crossed the threshold a loud crash from outside caused her to turn. She clasped her hands to to her cheeks and shuddered a gasp.  The room emptied of performers and guest as the crowd rushed to the portals and windows to see the cause.  On the landing thirteen steps below lay the harp and two fallen cartage workers.  The harp had slipped from their hands and tumbled down the marble steps to shatter on the concrete side walk.  Miss Penelope ran away sobbing.
       "I will win her affections this time." He thought. He went to London the very afternoon and purchased the most perfect harp. It was considered by all in the music world to have the perfect pitch and tone.  In craftsmanship it was beautiful piece of art to look at. Indeed the harp was commissioned for a member of a royal family.  "Send this harp to the young lady that lives at this address," he said as he handed the merchant the address and the full sum for the harp. "Be sure it arrives by dawn tomorrow. Include this note with the delivery."

       The harp was delivered.  He waited for a letter or a visit from the young lady.  As days passed he wondered, were his gifts and attentions waisted?  Does she have another gentleman admirer who she fancies more?  She was so well mannered it could not be that she was rude and uncouth. 

      He rode his horse to her estate. As he passed by he heard the harp being played.  Following the sound he came to the stables. "Strange," he thought, "perhaps for some amusement she is playing for guest at a lawn pic-nic."   He came to the stables and in a corner by the horse feed and hay was the harp. Some country children of the servants were plucking it's silver strings at random. He looked on this scene in dismay.

     Angry he demanded, "Do you children know this came to be here in the stable?" 

     "Oh yes sir. It was sent by a young admirer of the beautiful lady who lives in the estate." 

     "Why is it here?"

     "She met the delivery men when they bought it and told them to put it here that this was as good a place as any." 

     "No, it belongs in the house in the sitting room." He said.

     "That is not what she said."

     With a sigh the young man shook his head mounted his horse and rode away. She must have another young man, or her opinion of me is low. I'll not waste my time here any further.

Our Heavenly father has given us unimaginable gifts, blessings, promises, status and made us His own heirs. Yet we neglect and ignore them. Why do we think we can continue to treat His generosity with what amounts to contempt and that such treatment will not  grieve His Spirit?  Would any other continue to show such generosity to those who spurn him as we do our Gracious Father?

(C)Adron Dozat