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The story is told of two men who were traveling in the country of England a number of years ago. They had stopped at an inn for the night and had gotten settled in for the night when the village came alive with the shouts of alarm. A fire had broken out in a row of houses in the village.

One of the men leaped up and began to quickly dress and was going to give what assistance he could. His companion started trying to reason with the man, "Don’t go out and waste your time. These folks have enough to help them. Besides they are strangers; we don’t even know them."

The man was so determined to help that he would not hear his companion’s dissents. He ran out to the fire. The other man followed at a much more leisure pace and watched the efforts from a great distance away.

In front of a burning house, a young mother was crying out with anguish, "My children, my children!" When the stranger heard this, he sprang into the burning house. Shortly he appeared again, with most of his hair singed off and some of his clothes burnt and torn, but he had both children in his arms. He carried them to their mother and gave them to her. She cried as she held her children and soon dropped to the ground at his feet. The stranger picked her up and spoke some words of comfort to her. As he was doing so, the burning house fell with a loud crash.

As the two men returned back to the inn, the traveler chided his friend and asked him, "Who in the world told you to risk your life for these people you don’t even know?" The stranger replied back to him, "He who told me to put the corn into the ground so it will die and bring forth much fruit." "But how would this have happened if you would have died in the fire?" The stranger answered, "Then should I have become the corn myself!"

We cannot afford to live our lives for the superficial but rather for the substantial! We cannot live for time but for eternity!

(SOURCE: Philip Harrelson, Trading the Superficial for the Substantial, 6/30/08,

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