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Short Stories (Stories for the Youth), book by Father Tadros Yacoub Malaty

46- Gift or Insult


Jessie entered her friend Lucys house saying to her, Is Mrs. Martha the servant of the girls meeting here?

Why do you ask?

Her Mercedes is outside the door.

Maybe shes buying something.

Does this millionaire buy from modest stores like us?

While the two were talking there was a knock on the door. Lucy opened the door and found Marthas chauffeur standing at the door. He presented to her a beautiful box saying, Mrs. Martha sent you this box. She asks about you.

Lucy thanked him and asked him to enter. He excused himself saying that Mrs. Martha was waiting for him because he was going to take her somewhere. Image: Dead flowers and roses - by Amgad Wadea صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: زهور و وردود ذابلة - رسم أمجد وديع Image: Dead flowers and roses - by Amgad Wadea

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: زهور و وردود ذابلة - رسم أمجد وديع

Lucy asked him to thank Mrs. Martha and said to him, Tell her that Im going to the girls meeting tomorrow and Ill thank her myself.

Lucy called her mother and her siblings happily saying, Look, Martha is interested in me. She sent me this gift.

Her mother asked, And what is the occasion for this gift?

She answered saying, Shes full of love; thats why she gave me this gift.

When she opened the box, she was astonished. She found dried up flowers with withered leaves.

Whats this? Jessie asked angrily.

Her mother said, Dont be upset Lucy. Maybe she meant to put something different, something better, than the dead flowers.

Jessie commented, I know Martha. Shes a sensitive and generous person; she wouldnt do that.

She paused then continued, Maybe its the chauffeurs fault. He might have been given the gift a week ago and neglected to bring it then.

The mother answered, Tomorrow is the girls meeting go and thank her. Then, ask her why she sent this gift.

The following day, Lucy went to the meeting. There she met Martha and started a long conversation with her,

Thank you for caring about me and sending me this gift.

Youre welcome. Its a very simple gift.

I received your gift. Did you send it yesterday?

Why do you ask? I sent you this gift yesterday. You look a little astonished.

Yes, because you sent me flowers that were completely withered.

I know that theyre withered. One day as I was walking in the garden, I admired some beautiful flowers and I picked them for myself. I put them in a vase and I put it on the table so I would enjoy their beauty and their nice smell. Later on when the flowers withered away, I thought of getting rid of them. Then I thought of sending you these flowers, as my friend, instead of throwing them away.

Do you consider me a friend when you give me withered flowers that deserve to be thrown away? Is that because Im poor that you insult me by sending these dried up flowers?

Dont feel insulted my friend. This is to express my love to you.

Is this gift an expression of love or is it an insult to me?

Do you think this is an insult?

Yes, I wont attend this meeting and I wont talk with you anymore.

Martha smiled and patted Lucy on her back kindly saying, Dont be upset Lucy.

How can I not be upset? Do you think Ive no feelings or pride?

Lucy! I love you. I know that you are a sensitive person, but I wanted to reveal to you something about your life.

What do you mean?

Well, if you consider my gift an insult, then you insult God everyday.

But how?

Dont you spend most of your time at school and with your friends; then when you go home, you only relax and watch T.*; then at the end of the day when you are very tired, you remember to give God the remains of your time; you then spend minutes for prayer and reading the Bible? In this way, you insult God as if he doesnt deserve anything but the remains of your time. This is the gift that you give to God everyday. Unfortunately, you dont realize that God loves you and Hes proud of you as His daughter, or that He asks you to be His heavenly bride.

What should I do now?

Remember that the Father presented to you His First Born Son as a sacrifice for you. Dont you then want to spare your best time to God? The Divine word Himself

Emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found

In human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2.7-8).

→ English translation of the story here at هدية أم إهانة. Divider

You offered me O Master Yourself as a gift,

 So what should I offer You?

You asked that I own You so that You can own me.

Yet in my stupidity I offer You the remains of my life.

I am too selfish to give You the better part of my time and my talents.

You offered me Your heavens a home for me.

You made Your heavenly creatures friends for me.

So prepare me for Your dwelling in me.

Construct Your heavenly creation inside me.

You loved me first.

Give me that I may love You above all.

Give me to surrender to You my heart, my thought and my feelings.

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