Once when there was a famine, a kind, rich baker sent for twenty of the poorest children in the town, and said to them, “In this basket there is a loaf for each of you. Take it, and come back to me every day at this hour till God sends us better times.”

The hungry children gathered eagerly about the basket, and most quarreled over the bread, because each wished to have the largest loaf. At last they went away without even thanking the good gentleman.

But Gretchen, a poorly dressed little girl, did not quarrel or struggle with the rest, but remained standing quietly to the side. When the ill-behaved children had left, she took the smallest loaf, which alone was left in the basket, kissed the gentleman’s hand, and went home.

The next day the children were as ill-behaved as before, and poor, timid Gretchen received a loaf scarcely half the size of the one she got the first day. When she went home, and her mother cut the loaf open, many new shining pieces of silver fell out of it.

Her mother was very much alarmed, and said, “Take the money back to the good gentleman at once, for it must have gotten into the dough by accident. Be quick, Gretchen! Be quick!”

But when the little girl gave the rich man her mother’s message, he said, “No, no, my child, it was no mistake. I had the silver pieces put into the smallest loaf to reward you. Always be as contented, kind, and thankful as you now are. Go home now, and tell your mother that the money is your own.”

If we give to others, yield to them to make them happy, or put their wishes above our own, we can sometimes feel like we’re losing out. But we’re not really. God sees such unselfishness, and He will reward it. You never lose by giving.

-Adapted from McGuffey’s Third Reader

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A well-to-do lady who had become a Christian late in life was walking along the city street accompanied by her granddaughter. When a beggar approached them, the old lady listened to his tale. She then took a bill from her purse and placed it in his palm. At the next corner a Salvation Army volunteer was waiting and the old lady dropped a gift into her kettle. Her granddaughter looked at her with curiosity and then said: “Grandma, I guess you have lost a lot since you became a Christian, haven’t you?”

“Yes,” said the old lady, “I have. I have lost a quick temper, a habit of criticizing others, and a tendency to spend all my spare time in frivolous social events and pleasures that mean nothing. I have also lost a spirit of greed and selfishness. Yes, indeed, I have lost a good deal.

“And what I have gained is invaluable!-Peace of mind; power in prayer; a Friend Who is always with me, knows, loves and protects me; fulfilment and richness in life that I never knew existed; faith that allows no room for fears; a promise of a wonderful Heavenly Home when I’m through with this earthly one-and much more! Yes, I’m happy about what I’ve lost, and what I have gained is priceless!”

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For many years Mother Teresa and the sisters of her community have devoted themselves to helping the poor and needy in Calcutta, Once, speaking about her work, she said, “It’s only a drop in the ocean-but the ocean wouldn’t be the same without that drop.”

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How our smallest efforts are magnified when the motives behind them are unselfish!-Francis Gay

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You may have noticed the peaceful happiness, even radiance, in people who make it a habit to give.-Whether it’s time, money, help, or just friendly encouragement, they always seem to not only be content themselves, but have enough to share with others. Jesus explained why in the following Scripture: ” Give, and it will be given unto you. A good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap” (The Bible, Luke 6:38, NIV).

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