Many years ago, there was a nation with great prosperity. It was ruled by a good and generous king, who started worrying that the prosperity of his people was causing them to become lazy and demanding. In fact, it appeared to him that the more money that flowed into the nation from its active ports and businesses, the less his people worked, and the more they demanded.
Many of the king’s advisors tried assuring him that his perspective was a little off, but the king couldn’t be convinced. Instead, he decided to test his theory. One of the wealthier towns of his kingdom was just a day’s journey from the palace. The town was nestled between two mountains so that travelers could only enter and exit the city from two gates; one in the north and one in the south. The ports and farms of the city were mostly to the north, so on that road, the king placed a giant boulder in the path. He then hid himself a short distance away to see what would happen.
Shortly after the rock was placed, a group of wealthy merchants came by. They were very frustrated by the rock, but instead of moving it, they ordered their servants to travel around the rock, though that required walking through swampy waters. Next, some of the local citizens came by. They grumbled about the inefficiency of the city government, claimed that the king was not doing his job and complained loudly how about how much this was going to affect their daily routines. They too traveled around the boulder.
All afternoon the story was the same: workers, business owners, priests and peasants all griped about the rock, but did nothing about its position.
Finally, as the day was coming to an end, the king watched as a peasant returned from working in the fields. The peasant was dirty from his labor, and burdened down with several baskets full of freshly picked produce. He saw the rock, set his baskets down and then worked for nearly an hour to move the giant rock. During that time others came by who simply scoffed or shuffled quickly past without lending a hand.
With one last heave, the peasant pushed the boulder into the swamp that ran next to the road and returned to pick up his fruits and vegetables. When he did, he realized there was a large bag laying on the road under where the boulder had been. He picked it up and found 1000 gold coins and a note from the king, thanking whomever would move this boulder. The peasant returned home with more than produce to show his wife and kids.
Four questions for you as you ponder the application of this parable:
- Are you avoiding any hard work in your life because it is inconvenient, too challenging or you’re “too busy” to make it happen?
- What areas of personal growth are you avoiding because you are wasting your time and energy blaming others for the problem?
- Are there people in your life working hard on a problem that you could easily help?
- What rewards are waiting for you if you would tackle the challenges of your life head-on?
Living the Overboard Life demands facing life’s challenges, and helping others to do the same. The reward won’t be fully realized until after you’ve done the hard work!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!