This is an image of a typical suburban crossroads. It is a bright, sunny day, and a traffic light hangs over the intersection.

The Parable of the Content Man

Once upon a time, there were three men.

The first man was rich man. He only ate the richest food and wore the richest clothes, and he lived in the richest mansion in the richest neighborhood just outside the city. He often asked, “God? Who is he, and why do I need him?” He lived luxuriously, and he wanted to have it every other way.

The second man was a poor man. He only ate the poorest food and the wore the poorest clothes, and he lived in the poorest cardboard shack in the poorest neighborhood just inside the city. He often asked, “God? Where are you, and why don’t you help me?” He lived desperately, and he wanted to have it any other way.

The third man was a content man. He only ate the food and wore the clothes that the Lord had provided for him, and he lived in a modest house that the Lord had provided for him. He often asked…no, he prayed, “God, I love you, and I thank you. Work on me, and work through me.” He lived contently, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.


On one day, the rich man was coming down the steps of one of the finer restaurants in the city; he had food in his belly and more food in his hands.

When the poor man saw the rich man, he ran to the rich man’s feet. “Please sir,” he said as he reached out with his dirty hands, “you have enough food in your hands for plenty of people. Will you help me?”

“No,” said the rich man as he looked down his nose at the poor man. “If you want food, you have to work it, you lazy bum.” At this, the poor man sat and wept. The rich man then got in his car and sped away.

But as the rich man pulled away, another car pulled to a stop; it was the content man. He got out of his car, ran to the poor man, and explained that he had just been shopping for groceries for himself. He then invited the poor man to his house so he could feed him. The poor man so moved that he couldn’t say, “No,” so he said, “Yes,” and the two men went on their way.


On another day, the rich man was coming down the steps of one of the finer clothiers in the city; he was wearing a new suit, and he had more clothes in his hands.

When the poor man saw the rich man, he ran to the rich man’s feet. “Please sir,” he said as he reached out with his dirty hands, “you have enough clothes in your hands for plenty of people. Will you help me?”

“No,” said the rich man as he looked down his nose at the poor man. “If you want clothing, you have to work it, you lazy bum.” At this, the poor man sat and wept. The rich man then got in his car and sped away.

But as the rich man pulled away, another car pulled to a stop; it was the content man. He got out of his car, ran to the poor man, and explained that he had just been shopping for clothes for himself. He then invited the poor man to his house so he could clothe him. The poor man so moved that he couldn’t say, “No,” so he said, “Yes,” and the two men went on their way.


On a third day, a violent storm was blowing through the city, and everyone wanted to get home or at least somewhere safe until the storm had passed. As everyone was in such a hurry, this caused an influx of traffic on the road, which then became a traffic jam.  And the rich man was stuck in the middle of it all.

When the poor man saw the rich man, he ran to the rich man’s window. “Please sir,” he said as he reached out with his dirty hands, “you have enough room in your house for plenty of people. Will you help me?”

“No,” said the rich man as he looked down his nose at the poor man. “If you want a place to live, you have to work it, you lazy bum.” At this, the poor man sat and wept. The rich man then got in his car and left.

Well…the rich man tried to leave, but he couldn’t because the poor man had actually seated himself down in the middle of the road and in front of the rich man’s car.

Not being able to move around the poor man on either side because other cars, the rich man was stuck even more so than before. He honked his horn, but the poor man wouldn’t move. He revved his engine, but the poor man still wouldn’t move. Finally, the rich man got out of his car and dragged the poor man off the road. The rich man then got in his car and sped away…

…right into the driver’s side of another car. It was the content man who was turning around to pick up the poor man. The rich man was safe and lived, but the content man wasn’t so lucky; he died on impact.


The time then came for the content man’s funeral. Among friends and family were the rich man and the poor man, but each sat opposite of each other and alone.

As the rich man was alone, he asked…no, he prayed, “God, I’m sorry that my attitude has cost this man his life. I am no longer fit to live as I once did. From here on out, I’ll live my life serving my fellow man, and I should be content with that. God, I love you, and I thank you. Work on me, and work through me.”

At the same time, as the poor man was alone, he asked…no, he prayed, “God, I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to experience this man’s giving and content nature. From here on out, I know that You’ll give me what I need, and I should be content with that. God, I love you, and I thank you. Work on me, and work through me.”

After the funeral, as family and friends were leaving, the parlor became empty except for the rich man and the poor man.

But this time, the rich man ran to the poor man’s feet. “Please sir,” he said as he reached out with his clean hands, “I now have enough room in my heart for plenty of people. Will you let me help you?”

And the poor man so moved that he couldn’t say, “No,” so he said, “Yes,” and the two men went on their way.

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