Monday, December 24, 2007

Marley's First Try

A man approached the miser. The newcomer's manner was neither jolly nor imploring, both of which Scrooge hated. In a way, Scrooge was disappointed: he had an itch in his kicking foot that only a really good punt would relieve. He consoled himself with the thought that if the man offered him no profit, he could nail him anyway as a time-waster.

"Hello, Scrooge!" the man called. Scrooge could not recognize him, though he seemed somehow familiar. He also reminded Scrooge of a doornail for some reason.

"Have you some business with me, sir?"

"Mankind is my business," the other replied.

"Then you shall soon be bankrupt. Please advise me when you sell your assets."

"Mankind is a good investment. Just look at that poor man over there."

"He's not just poor, he's a bum. If I got within reach, he'd pick my pocket."

"You must learn to see the good in your fellow man. Try reaching out to him with a friendly gesture."

"I'll give him a gesture--and you too."

"Look, if you'll just do the human thing for once, I'm sure it will change you."

"And if he does the wrong thing will you go away? I still say he's a bum."

"Then I'll leave. Fine."

Scrooge hailed the beggar like a long-lost penny. The man reached for in a friendly embrace. The next moment, Scrooge crowed as the mousetrap in his pocket wrung a yelp from his fellowman.

"Hah! Bum hug!" Then he grabbed the mousetrap back before the man could leave, and threatened to charge him rent for using it.

Marley grumbled as he trudged away, almost forgetting to fade from view. "Blast! Wrong vagrant! But I'll be back next year, and I'll bring reinforcements!"


Many people make the same mistake as Marley did: the focus of Christmas isn't how wonderful we are; it's how gracious God is. And that means we didn't deserve the help. Don't waste time looking for the good in others; take time to show them the goodness God has granted you.

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