Then Jesus said to his disciples,
"If anyone would come after me, he must first deny himself and
take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life
will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
( Matt. 16:24 )
THE STONE CUTTER
There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied
with himself and with his position in life. One day he
passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the
open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and
"How powerful that merchant must be!" thought
the stone cutter. He became very envious and
wished that he could be like the merchant.
To his great surprise, he suddenly became the
merchant, enjoying more luxuries and
power than he had ever imagined, but was
envied and detested by those less wealthy
Soon a high official passed by, carried in a
sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and
escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone,
no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before
the procession. "How powerful that official is!"
he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!"
Then he became the high official, carried
everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair,
feared and hated by the people all around. It
was a hot summer day, so the official felt
very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair.
He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly
in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How
powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that
I could be the sun!"
Then he became the sun, shining fiercely
down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed
by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black
cloud moved between him and the earth, so
that his light could no longer shine on everything
below. "How powerful that storm cloud is!" he
thought. "I wish that I could be a storm cloud!"
Then he became the storm cloud, flooding the
fields and villages, shouted at by everyone.
But soon he found that he was being pushed
away by some great force, and realized that it
was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought.
"I wish that I could be the wind!"
Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off
the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared
and hated by all below him. But after a while,
he ran up against something that would not move,
no matter how forcefully he blew against it -
a huge, towering rock. "How powerful
that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that
I could be a rock!"
Then he became the rock, more powerful than
anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he
heard the sound of a hammer pounding a
chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself
being changed. "What could be
more powerful than I, the rock?"
He looked down and saw far below him the
figure of a stone cutter.
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