A small and wiry woman lived in the hilltop town of Urbino, Italy. A narrow cobblestone and off-the-beaten path, lead to her modest home that overlooked the Apennine Mountains.
Each day the woman would bake two loaves of the most appetizing Italian bread in the village. One loaf was for her and her husband, the other was placed on a window sill for a hungry passerby.
Each day a grumpy old man came and took the loaf of bread. He would always mutter the words, "The evil you do remains with you, The good you do comes back to you!" This went on day after day and month after month, irritating the woman considerably. "Not a word of gratitude," she thought to herself, "I don't even know what he means!"
One day, exasperated she decided to do away with the old man. "I shall get rid of this
grumpy old guy" she said. That day she added poison to the loaf of bread that would go on the window sill.
As she was about to place the bread on the sill, her hands began to tremble and fear ran through her thin body. "What am I doing?" she said. Immediately, she threw the loaf of bread into the brick fireplace and prepared a new loaf of bread for the window sill. It wasn't long before the old brute came and took the loaf of bread, grunting out the words, "The evil you do, remains with you; the good you do comes back to you."
The old varmint proceeded on his way, blissfully unaware of the war raging in the mind of the woman. To cope with her bitter feelings towards the old man, the woman now offered a prayer for her son who had run off to seek his fortune, before she placed the bread on the sill.
Each day the he would come, take the bread and mutter the words, "The evil you do remains with you; the good you do, comes back to you!" The woman continued her prayers, for she had no news of her son who had been gone many months now.
One evening there was a knock on the door. As the woman opened it, she was surprised to find her son standing in the doorway. He had grown so thin and lean, his garments were tattered and torn. Hungry, starved and weakened, he said to his mother, "Mama, it's a miracle that I am here. While I was but a mile away, I was so famished that I collapsed.
I would have died, but for an old man that passed by each day, he was kind enough to give me a piece of bread... that was almost as good as your own. As he gave it to me he said, "This is what I eat everyday, today I shall share it with you for your need is greater than my own!"
As the mother heard those words, she turned pale and had to lean against the door for support. She remembered the loaf of bread that she had made one morning, that loaf contained poison and had she not burnt it in the fire, her own son might have eaten it.
She immediately realized the significance of the words: "The evil you do remains with you; the good you do comes back to you!"
Don't be deceived for no one makes a fool of God. What we plant, God will harvest. Those who sow selfishly ignoring the needs of others... and in fact ignoring God will harvest weeds. All he will have to show for this life will be weeds.
But, the one who plants in response to God, and allows the Holy Spirit to lead them will harvest a crop of real life... eternal life. We may not always understand the person we are led to help, however God has a purpose for those he puts in our pathway. Don't let the opportunity of giving... pass you by, just because you don't understand something!
Keep giving... keep trusting... God has a reason and that's all we need to know. We must not grow weary in our well doing... even if we don't understand the task at hand. Let us work for the benefit of everyone, starting with the people closest to us.
May, I go one step further... let all that we do, be done with a heart full of joy and love! Let us learn to love one another as if our lives depended on it, for love makes up for practically anything! Let us be quick to serve, to give a meal to the hungry... a bed to the homeless... and let it all be done cheerfully! And may we give all the credit to Jesus!!