The doctor in the small French village was about to retire. For years he had been on call. Day and night, he had cared for villagers, often without payment.
As the day of his retirement approached, the villagers wanted to do something special for him. The people had very little money. It was decided that as a concrete expression of their gratitude and affection each family would bring a pitcher of wine, drawn from their own cellar, and pour it into a huge barrel set in the village square.
Evening came and the barrel was taken to the doctor’s home where it was presented with great ceremony. The doctor, overwhelmed by the occasion, went to the barrel, drew a glassful, and toasted the crowd.
He then drank the first of the great gift the community had shared. It was a shock. It tasted like water. He dipped again. Again, it was water. Surely there had been a mistake. But no, the barrel was filled with water.
Then the truth was exposed. Everyone in the town had reasoned, “That’s a big barrel. My little pitcher of wine won’t be missed, and I have so little for myself. This is a big village. Surely others will take care of it.”
And an expression of gratitude became a tragedy because everyone assumed that someone else would carry the load.
This story was originally in the Surrey/North Delta Leader and was written by Pastor George Fleming. It struck a chord with me the first time I read it, and it still does today.
We would be wise to consider his words of wisdom as he admonishes us to look at our own giving relative to the talents, skills, and resources that each of us possess.
Let’s avoid the path of least resistance and the “easy out”. Let us resolve to fill our pitcher with the very best of what we have and generously contribute and share.