Archive for the ‘18th Sunday’ Category

The Richest Man in the Valley 7-31-2016

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

There was a wealthy lord who lived in the Scottish Highlands. He was more then richly endowed with this world’s goods and amongst his vast possessions was a mansion overlooking a beautiful valley. But there was a basic emptiness in his life. He had no religious belief, he lived alone, possessed by his possessions.
In the gate lodge at the entrance to his estate lived John, his herdsman. John was a man of simple faith and deep religious commitment. With his family he was a regular churchgoer. God’s presence was a reality in his home and often at night when he opened the gate to admit his employer, the Scottish lord noticed the family in prayer.
One morning the lord was looking out on the valley resplendent in the rising sun. As he gazed on the beautiful scene, he said to himself, “It is all mine.” Just then the door bell rang. Going down, he found John on the door step. “What’s the matter, John?” he asked. “Are the horses alright?”
John looked embarrassed. “Yes, sir,” he replied. “Sir, could I have a word with you?” He was invited onto the plush carpet, and his presence there pointed up the striking contrast between their lifestyles.
“Sir,” said John hesitantly, “last night I had a dream, and in it God told me that the richest man in the valley would die tonight at midnight. I felt I should tell you. I hope, sir that you don’t mind.”
“I don’t believe in dreams. Go on back to your work and forget it.”
John still looked uneasy. “The dream was very vivid, sir, and the message was that the richest man in the valley would die at midnight tonight. I just had to come to you, sir, as I felt that you should know.”
The lord dismissed him, but John’s words bothered him so much that he finally took out his care and went to the local doctor for a check-up. The doctor examined him, pronounced him fit and said he’d give him another twenty years.
The lord was relieved but a lingering doubt caused him to invite the doctor around for dinner and a few drinks that evening. They enjoyed a meal together and shortly after eleven-thirty, the doctor got up to leave. When the lord asked him to remain on for a few nightcaps, he agreed.
Eventually, when midnight passed and he was still in the land of the living, the rich man saw the doctor to the door, and then went up stairs muttering, “Silly old John…upset my whole day…him and his dreams.”
No sooner was he in bed than he heard the door-bell ringing. It was twelve-thirty. Going down he found a grief-stricken girl at the door whom he recognized instantly as John’s teenage daughter.
“Sir,” she said, looking at him through her tears, “Mummy sent me to tell you that Daddy died at midnight.”
The lord froze. It was suddenly made clear to him who was the richest man in the valley. The richest man in the valley.