James’s Blog: The Rich Man and the Farmer.

There was once a rich man, who owned many wonderful and precious things, and he loved those things greatly. There was, however, one thing that he loved more than all of his possessions, all of his wealth, and that was himself.

One day, the rich man sent word throughout the kingdom.

“I own treasures that any man would desire, but surely the most amazing and precious thing is myself, the man who owns all of these treasures. If anyone can bring me a great and beautiful prize that I will love more than I love myself, then I will give this person everything that I own, and pass my great wealth on to them.”

People came from far and wide to bring something that the rich man would love more than himself. Merchants brought rare and exotic items from the far corners of the world, noblemen brought their beautiful daughters, musicians brought angelic songs, but the rich man loved none of these things more than himself.

One day, a farmer visited his court.

“Have you brought me something that I will love more than myself?” the rich man said.

“I have, my lord,” said the farmer.

“What is it?” said the rich man.

The farmer opened his hand, and in the middle was a small seed.

“What is that? A seed?” The rich man laughed. “I have seen fantastic seeds, brought from the far corners of the world, and you think that one small, plain seed will impress me?”

“It is not the seed, my lord,” said the farmer, “but rather it is what the seed becomes.”

“And what is that?”

“I will show you, my lord.”

The farmer planted the seed in the corner of one of the rich man’s gardens and left. The rich man thought nothing more of it.

Many years passed, and still the rich man loved himself more than anything else. One day, the farmer returned.

“Who are you?” the rich man said.

“I am the farmer who brought you a seed many years ago, my lord.”

“Oh yes, I remember. Well, the years have not been kind to you. Farming must be a tiresome work.”

The farmer just smiled.

“Would you like to see what has become of the seed, my lord?”

“Very well,” said the rich man.

The farmer took the rich man to the corner of the garden where he had planted the seed, and there stood a beautiful apple tree. But the rich man wasn’t impressed.

“What is that? An apple tree? I have orchards full of the things, as well as amazing and exotic plants from the far corners of the word, and you think an apple tree will impress me?”

“It is not the tree, my lord,” said the farmer, “but rather it is what the tree gives us.”

“And what is that?”

“I will show you, my lord.”

The farmer reached up and plucked a plump, ripe apple from one the branches.

“An apple? I told you that I have orchards and groves! I have succulent fruits and exotic vegetables from the far corners of the world, and you think a mere apple will impress me?”

“It is not the apple, my lord,” said the farmer, “but rather it is what is inside the apple.”

“And what is that?”

The farmer took a bite from the apple, and then plucked a small seed from its middle, a seed that looked identical to the one that he had bought the rich man all those years ago.

“A seed? What is so…” began the rich man, but then he stopped, and he understood.

He loved himself more than anything, but he too was only as temporary as his possessions. If there was anything that he should love more, it was God, who was eternal like the apple seed, and the source of all good things.

The rich man was ashamed.

“You have shown me the folly of my pride. Everything I have is yours.”

“No, my lord,” said the farmer. “Nothing that any of us have is really ours.”

The rich man understood this too, and he decreed that all of his possessions should be sold and the proceeds divided among the poor.

The rich man was no longer a rich man, but he considered himself a wiser man, and a better man, and nothing brought him greater pleasure.