There was once a rich man who went to a feast. At this feast he ate and drank with many friends. Two young men in particular spoke with him about their troubles. “Well,” the rich man said, “I have plenty of riches. I can help you obtain for yourselves a better situation.”
So, he promised to meet with them soon. Meanwhile, the two men went home and spoke to each other saying, “This our friend has a lot of riches. We will feel guilty, if we continue to be his friend so that we can rob him of his riches.”
Yet because they were poor and because they were desperate, they decided to proceed with their plotting.
So, the rich man invited them to his home one day. Before they came he set out a certain portion of money for each of them. While they were eating and drinking in his sitting room, the rich man got up to answer the door. The two men then discovered the stacks of money, took it and ran out the back door.
When the rich man returned to his sitting room and found his friends gone with the money, he ran after them. He caught one of them by the coat. Greatly troubled, he cried, “What have you done?”
“We were poor and desperate,” said the young man.
“But I would have given you the money and so much more had you been my friend and not my deceiver and robber.”
The young man hung his head in shame.
“Come, turn from your stealing. You are forgiven, but come back to my house to continue feasting with me in my sitting room. Do what it takes to make your conscience clean before me, then come to share a greater gift with me.” said the rich man.
“I have stolen from you but I am desperate!” cried the young man. “I do not know how to make this right to you.” He turned, clutched the stolen wad in his pocket and fled.
The rich man looked after him sorrowfully and said to the people who had gathered to observe, “Great is the shame of those who steal the very thing that would be given them. Yet their depravity becomes fatal if they cannot accept the greater gift they are offered. They serve themselves to their own sentence. Would they not have been much richer in money and life had they accepted my gift?” He went home and grieved silently in his empty sitting room.