An old church in a village in Brazil was leaking and the walls were almost collapsing. After the service the Padre asked the worshipers if they could organize a fundraising to rebuild the church. He told them to contribute whatever God has blessed each and every one of them with.
“If you have some money, you can bring the money. If you earn a living by selling tomatoes in the market, you can bring the tomatoes and they get them auctioned to raise the money. If you operate hardware it would be even better; you can bring some nails and iron sheets for the roof. Whatever you have.”
Eventually, it was the day of fundraising and worshippers came out in large numbers, some with money in their pockets, others with goods depending on their jobs and sources of livelihood. They were met by a strange sight; a coffin at the entrance of the church!
Gosh! Who had died?
But then again it was on a Sunday and funeral services were never conducted on Sundays.
What was going on?
People started talking in whispers asking what the meaning of it was.
They started pointing fingers to an old man seated at a corner; he was the coffin maker.
Some looked at him in open hostility, but he didn’t mind them.
The Padre had said that people should bring whatever God has blessed you with, right?
And he was a coffin maker…
After the service it was time to raise funds; those who had money contributed, hardware people gave iron sheets and other building equipment and materials; tomato traders had brought their tomatoes which were auctioned away.
Finally, the coffin maker dragged his coffin to the front of the church and stood still… people gasped and fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.
Suddenly an old man, a friend of the coffin maker stood up. He offered $15,000 for the coffin on behalf of the padre. He said he was buying it for the padre.
The Padre shot up so fast with eyes wide open, his lips suddenly very dry.
He quickly offered $20,000 for the coffin on behalf of the leader of CWA (Catholic women Association).
The Lady nearly stumbled as she sprang to her feet looking so shocked at seeing her coffin, “No! No! No!” She shouted, “It is not mine! I …I … I. Will buy it for the Catechist!…$ 30,000 please!… please!
The Catechist nearly peed on himself.
He turned to look at her angrily as if to ask “do you want to kill me?!”
Clearly nobody wanted the coffin and it kept on being passed around until finally another old rich man stood and said that he is offering $100,000 for the coffin and he is buying it on behalf of the coffin maker.
The coffin maker took his coffin and returned it to his shop …smiling.
The coffin maker, someone who was looked down upon, someone whom people jeered that he benefits from the misfortunes of others, raised the greatest amount of money for the church without contributing even a single coin.