I have a great old roll top desk in my study. I'm sitting at it now as I compose this reflection. There are a number of treasures on my desk, including a small stone. This stone was given to me by a dear friend and colleague, The Rev'd Jim Nelson. He gave me the stone to remind me of a parable he tells.
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said. "I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone." Sometimes it's not the wealth you have but what's inside you that others need...A Precious Gift inside you.
As we move slowly through this time of COVID, so much of our attention seems to be focused on our own little worlds at a distance from others. In order to combat feelings of isolation and self-centeredness, we need to cultivate the spirit of generosity. I believe that the wise woman in this parable had the inner gift of generosity and I pray to receive it every single day when I see the stone my friend Fr. Jim gave me. It is something that is more precious than a precious stone,
The Very Rev'd Ron Pogue
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church