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The Parable of the Delivery Man

Once upon a time in a kingdom somewhere around 24th street, there was a man. He was rather silly and weighed down with debt. He took work delivering cheese-like food three nights a week for tips to free himself and his family. His taskmaster was kind and knowledgeable. His fellow delivery folk were smart and fun and a little strange. They helped him much. And what was better, the King of pizza was always available.

At first this man would arrive on the doorsteps of his customers with said food. He would smile wide, provide extra condiments and ponder the tips that were rightly his. He would say thanks out of courtesy. Then he would leave, count his money and judge his customers and himself.

Sometimes he was sad, saying the customers were not thoughtful or considerate. Sometimes he was glad, saying he was exceptional at deliveries. Other times he was confused, wondering if he had done enough.  Thus tossed to and fro, he grew more and more tired.

He reported thus to the King of the pizza, who answered slowly and said, “Dude, it is bad for you to base your feelings on how much you get paid. It is good for you to relax and let what may happen. Try it. You’re freeing yourself from the bondage of debt. Don’t tie yourself back up with things you can’t control like tips.”

The man kept arriving on doorsteps with cheese-like food. He would smile wide, provide extra condiments, and this time crack a joke. He would say thanks as a kind gesture. Sometimes he joked with the kids. Then he would leave, and stow the payment. He grew more apt at hiding a signed receipt or pocketing an amount of cash without counting. He waited until the end of his day to judge his customers and himself. The judgments were different. His penalties less harsh. He realized the error of his previous ways, vowing to do his best not to base his attitude on tips.

He reported thus to the King, who answered and said, “See? It is good for you to act against your time, not react to things you can’t control. Now,  practice true gratitude. It is better for you to love your fellow man on purpose than to just let good things happen to you. You’re freeing yourself from the bondage of debt. Don’t tie yourself back by not showing gratitude for your tips.”

The numbers of the job grew interesting. The man delivered more pizzas and practiced more gratitude. He thanked those that tipped for their tips. He thanked those that didn’t for his chance to meet them and serve. He saw for himself that it was as the King of all pizza said: showing gratitude on purpose was better than just letting good things happen to him. He reported to the King of all pizza his feelings, and shared them with others.

The King then said, “You’re doing better. You’re on your way out of debt. You’re not tying yourself down to things you can’t control as much. You’re being grateful and loving to others much more than you were before. Doesn’t that feel so much better?”

The man replied, “A thousand times better. You’ve been a great help. For a king, you’re surprisingly accessible. But my question is, if just reacting is bad, letting things happen is good and acting with gratitude and on purpose is better… what is best?”

The King’s face lit up. “Not bad,” he said. He stepped over, clapped the man on the shoulder and said, “It’s good that you ask. We’d better start at the beginning. Step one is to realize you’re serving me whenever you serve someone else.“

And the two walked out of that one pizza restaurant discussing how to get to what’s best. Then the man went home, kissed his princess and got some rest before taking ‘step one.’




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