A Parable

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Two men who had grown up in the same town, attended the same school, and were members of the same church, were going on a mission trip together along with a few other folks from their church. They paid their deposits, attended all the prerequisite meetings, secured their passports, and purchased their plane tickets. They flew over one thousand miles to help bring clean water, food, and the good news of God’s kingdom to the people living in a poor village in the dark corner of some forgotten, third-world country.

They saw poverty—real poverty—for the first time: children with distended bellies, raw sewage running in the rough-rutted roads, grown men and women with their skin clinging to their bones living in tents and roughed together lean-tos. They were confronted with the harsh reality of a different world, one without the relative luxuries they had taken for granted all their lives.

They were moved by the people of that village. They ate with them, laughed with them, cried with them, and prayed with them. When it was time for them to return home, they shared hugs and received gifts that would serve as reminders of their time in the village with their new foreign friends.

After the long truck ride and the flight back home, the two men debriefed with the rest of the team with whom they traveled, and they prepared a presentation to share with their congregation. They shared stories of the people they met and the experiences they had. When the service was over, they were only left with their memories and prayers.

The first man prayed, “Lord, thank you for the experiences I had doing your work in the village on this trip. I am so thankful for my warm bed, my full pantry, the clothes on my back, and the roof over my head. Help me to be thankful for all the blessings you give me, especially now that I know there are so many in this world who don’t have all the things I have. Amen.”

The second man prayed, “Lord, I am ashamed. How can I have so much while so many have so little? How can I use what I have to truly help those who do not have much, if anything? Forgive me for taking my life for granted. Help me to give more of myself and what I have away. I don’t want people to have to live like those people in the village. Amen.”

Both men went. Both men saw. Both men prayed. Which one was saved?