Virtue of the Week: Faithfulness

Keeping the Faith…(A short story about prayer and being faithful).

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island.

The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God.

However, to determine whose prayers should be most effective, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food.

The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island and boarded the ship with his wife.

Since none of the other man’s prayers had been answered, he considered him unworthy to receive God’s blessings, so he decided to leave the second man on the island.

As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”

“My blessings are a result of my faith and prayers, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so I figured he does not deserve anything.”

“You are sorely mistaken, and are in great debt to him.”

“How’s that?” the first man asked.

”It was his great faith that invoked the blessings, and he prayed that all your prayers might be answered.”
With that, the first man felt ashamed and realized how selfish he was and stayed until all their prayers were answered!

Are our blessings the fruits of our prayers and work alone, or of those of another praying for us? What (and who) are you praying for? Who might be praying for you?

God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.Mother Teresa

There’s a wonderful story about a rose and a butterfly and how they would spend glorious days in the sun together until one day another butterfly flew by. The first butterfly became infatuated with the beautiful creature and took chase after her. The rose was devastated, so she decided to uproot herself and go in pursuit of her beloved butterfly. What happens to the rose? Of course she dies!

The story is such a great metaphor for how most of us conduct our lives chasing false butterflies in hope of filling our voids, even if they are only temporary. But, the moral of the story suggests that just like any growing thing that stays rooted, the ripening process happens over a longer period of time.

So be faithful, stay the course, weather the storm, when the clouds break you will be a stronger ship for it.

Several years ago Pepper Rodgers was in the middle of a terrible season as football coach at UCLA. It even got so bad that it upset his home life. He recalls, “My dog was my only friend. I told my wife that a man needs at least two friends – so she bought me another dog.”

One stormy night an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room. The clerk said they were filled, as were all the hotels in town. “But I can’t send a fine couple like you out in the rain,” he said. “Would you be willing to sleep in my room?” The couple hesitated, but the clerk insisted. The next morning when the man paid his bill, he said, “You’re the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the United States. Someday I’ll build you one.” The clerk smiled politely. A few years later the clerk received a letter from the elderly man, recalling that stormy night and asking him to come to New York. A round-trip ticket was enclosed. When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street, where stood a magnificent new building. “That,” explained the man, “is the hotel I have built for you to manage.” The man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria. The young clerk, George C. Boldt, became its first manager.