Thursday, August 06, 2009

How much is enough?

The simple fisherman sat quietly, his line cast into the grey morning waters. Out for an early morning, holiday beach-jog, the exec stopped for a breather right next to him. Both men looked out to sea, the silence between them soothed by the crashing waves.

‘How long do you fish for each day?” the exec asked.

“A few hours, long enough to catch fish to take home for my family,” the fisherman replied, “Then I take it easy for the rest of the day”.

The businessman was incredulous. “You know,” he began, “You really could do better than that. I mean, if you would stay a few more hours, you could catch some more fish, which you could sell.”

“And then what?” asked the fisherman slowly, gazing at the horizon.

“Well, you could save up the extra money and buy a boat.”

“Uh huh... and then?”

“Well, with the boat, you could fish in deeper water and catch even more fish to sell at a greater profit.”

“Ok, and then?” The fisherman was still gazing over the crests of waves.

“Then, you could hire fishermen to work for you, they would bring in more fish, earning you more money so you buy another boat and then another, hire more fishermen and make more money,” the exec was excited, “Who knows? You might earn enough to buy a fish-packing plant, maybe grow to a chain of businesses... within ten to fifteen years, you could be obscenely wealthy!”

“I see, and what would I do then?” the fisherman finally turned his head, a wry smile on his face, “Sell my business and retire to sit on the beach each day admiring the beauty of nature and catching a few fish?”

In the desert, G-d gave us the manna each day- just enough food to keep us going. We weren’t happy, we wanted more, something to hold on to “in case”. He wanted us to realise that He supplies us with what we need, as long as we dedicate sufficient time to the important things in life- family, friends and our own spirituality.

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