Haiti and the Megachurch

January 27, 2010

This parable first appeared as part of an entry in Letters to Bobo and was cut to the present form in a Facebook note dated 27 January 2010.

A Man was leaving for business in a faraway land and placed the running of his household in the hands of his trusted Chief Servant. In particular, he set him in charge of overseeing the building of a grand mansion, the planning for which had been going on for many years.

But, somewhere on a road in the distant land, this Man fell among robbers and was then left for dead in a ditch. He was found a few days later and put in a lodge where the best nearby doctors took turns to attend to his grave condition and to keep him alive.

Seeing how he was in urgent need of funds, the owner of the lodge got hold of a messenger to carry a request for money to the Man’s household. Upon receiving this letter, the Chief Servant thought: “My Master is a hard man. I know that, whatever he set his mind on so far, he has not wavered until it was seen to its end. So I shall keep the funds for work on his mansion and send him a few Servants instead.”

Weeks later, another letter for money came, and the Chief Servant thought this time: “My Master has always valued his accomplishments over his setbacks. The beauty and magnificence of his finished mansion will certainly please him and make him forget the pain he is currently enduring. In fact, rather than dispatch some funds, I shall send a sedan with escorts to bring him home at once.”

When the Man finally returned not in a sedan but in a stretcher, the Servant came out to greet him in half-concealed joy. “Master!” he cried, “I have read your requests but stuck firmly to the tasks you have charged me with. Your mansion is now completed as you wished, and we welcome you to enjoy the fruits of your labour!”

The Man replied: “O misery! I was lying on the verge of death in a faraway land and had need of the very thing you were reluctant to offer up. This building is not in a hurry, but my life — it was hanging in your hands! What good is a mansion to me if I am not alive to dwell in it?”

Gwee Li Sui

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