Look up, look around too

There is a legend of a King who had no successors. He sent his attendants across the kingdom to display notices inviting young men who think they were worthy of being his son and successor.  However, two conditions were laid out: candidate should have love for God and love for fellow-beings. The notices were displayed throughout the kingdom.
A young man found that he loved God and loved fellow-beings. But he was very poor and in rags. He begged and borrowed money from many people to buy himself decent clothes and also provisions to make his journey to meet the king. As he drew near to the palace, a poor man in rags begged him for food. The young aspirant gave away all the money and food he was carrying to the poor beggar and even clothed the poor man with his overcoat.

He fearfully approached the palace gates, as he had no decent clothes on. He was then led to the king. The moment he stood before the throne, he was shocked and surprised to see the King wearing the very same overcoat.

The King said “I was that beggar you saw outside the gates. I watched many young aspirants pass by me without a response to my cry for help. But you stopped by and were compassionate towards me. You are worthy to be my son and worthy to be my successor”.

The Bible is replete with promises of blessings upon those who are compassionate and generous towards the poor and needy.  “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Proverbs 11:24-25). The disciples of Jesus were with him but at times failed to be compassionate. They wanted to send away the people hungry, but Jesus said “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way"(Mathew 15:32).

Saint John urges us to reach out to those in need “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18)

 All our religious practices and rituals will be in vain if we have no love for our fellow-beings.  When Evangelist William Booth died, the Royalty attended his funeral. As the Queen watched the casket, a poor lady in rags placed a flower on it.

The queen asked her, “How did you know him?”  The lady replied, “He cared for poor people like me”.

True religion is looking up to God and looking around to help the needy.

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