If you’ve read my article about prayers of blessing, you know about the habit of blessing the Lord at all times, or giving thanks in all circumstances. Here’s a hilarious story about appreciating what you have…
It Could Be Worse!
A poor Jewish peasant had come to the end of his rope, so he went to his rabbi for advice.
“Rabbi!” he cried, “Things are in a bad way with me, and are getting worse all the time! We are so poor, that my wife, six children, in laws, five grandchildren and I all have to live in a one room hut. We get in each others’ way all the time. Our nerves are frayed and we quarrel all the time. My home is a hell and I’d sooner die than continue living this way!”
The rabbi pondered the matter gravely. “My son,” he said, “promise to do as I tell you and your condition will improve.”
“I promise, Rabbi,” answered the troubled man. “I’ll do anything you say.”
“Tell me, what animals do you own?”
“I have a cow, a goat and some chickens.”
“Go home now and take the cow into your house to live with you, and God will help you.”
The peasant was dumbfounded, but since he trusted the rabbi, he went home and brought the cow into his house.
The following day the poor man returned to the rabbi and cried, “Rabbi, what misfortune have you brought upon me! I did as you told me and brought the cow into the house and now what have I got? Things are worse than ever! My life is a perfect hell – the house is turned into a barn! Save me, Rabbi!”
“My son” replied the rabbi, “go home and bring the goat into your house to live with you. God will help you!”
The poor man went home and brought the goat into the house. It was not long before he again came running to the rabbi.
“Rabbi!” he wailed. “Help me, save me! The goat is smashing everything in the house – she’s turning my life into a nightmare.”
“Go home,” said the rabbi gently, “and bring the chickens into your house. God will help you!”
The poor man returned to his house and brought in the chickens. But it wasn’t long before he again came to the rabbi, lamenting, “What a misfortune you’ve brought upon my head, Rabbi! How can you expect human beings to live side by side with animals?”
“You’re right – a hundred times right!” agreed the rabbi. “Go straight home and take the animals out of your house!” The unfortunate man hastened home and took the animals out of his house.
Not a day had passed before he came running again to the rabbi. “Rabbi!” cried the peasant, his face beaming, “With all the animals out, the house is so quiet, so roomy and so clean! What a pleasure! My house is a treat. Thank you, Rabbi – you have made my life sweet.”
(Image from publicenergy.)
Ron Mauger says
Wonderful. May I use it someday, even for me.
Julie B says
What a clever story. It’s interesting how our feelings about life are dependent on our perspective. Whenever I’ve been hurting and things start to turn around, I appreciate life more than I did before. I notice all the things that go right, instead of all the things that go wrong. It’s important to remember that we’ve gotta face the rain to find the silver lining. Everyone will go through struggles and hardships and will feel weary and broken, but these experiences are necessary to realize and understand the beauty of life.
This is such a good reminder for me. Living in America is such a privilege and gift. I don’t remember it near enough, and I often find myself complaining about little things. I think we all need a reminder of how much we are blessed and that it could be worse.
Tim Bloemendaal says
This made me realize my life is far better than I deserve. I take so much for granted and don’t stop to think about what I have been given and thank God enough.
I enjoyed reading this very much! It made me realize it only takes making things worse to enjoy your life again.
What a fun and clever story. It’s so amazing how much the man trusted the Rabbi even though his requests seemed to make no sense at the time. This is the kind of trust we need to remember to have in God all the time even if his requests seem a little crazy in the moment.
I think this story is a good representation of how we should all view life. We can think everything given us isn’t good enough and that everything’s going wrong, but then a new element can always be thrown in to create more chaos. So removing that element is a lesson proving that we should be appreciative of what we have. When the rabbi gave the man advice in bringing his animals to live with him in the house – the man kept expecting a miracle, but when they were eventually taken out, he realized how fortunate his life really was. Thanks for this, I really enjoy it!
Brinslea, Kylie says
We thought this was a funny article because the guy thought he had a really rough and terrible life. What he didn’t realize is that when the rabbi told him to have all the animals go live with him his life turned out to be even worse. That made him understand that the life he had before was not all that bad. What we don’t realize as Christians is that we sometimes we think we have a terrible life when it could be much worse. We don’t realize is that more people are out there for example those who aren’t as wealthy as us. We should not complain because what we have is very good compared to other people and we should not take our life for granted.
Laura Tompa says
What a great story! I think it’s a good reminder that we shouldn’t complain about all the little things that happen to us because there are so much worse things happening to so many people in the world. I often forget how blessed I am to have a house to go home everyday and have meals every night and a lot of people don’t have these things.
Also, the man did everything what the rabbi told him without questioning him and I think it’s really impressive. If someone told to do the same thing I would probably just look at the person and say no because it wouldn’t make sense to me and it’s really interesting how much they trusted each other and the rabbi. I think we could learn a lot from this story.
Lois Tverberg says
Thanks everyone for your comments. The story is a funny reminder that life is always better when you’re thankful. 🙂