A man floating stranded in the middle of the ocean looks to the sky and asks,
“God, can I have a boat?”
Exhausted, the man falls asleep.
When he awakens, there is an overturned boat floating next to him. He shouts,
“Thank you God!”
He then swims to the boat, flips it over and gets in. With a renewed sense of security and hope, he begins to paddle with his hands.
He paddles for hours (getting nowhere,) then looks to the sky and asks,
“God, can I have two oars?”
Exhausted the man falls asleep.
He awakes to a loud clang near the front of his boat. Excited, he looks in the water and sees a tethered set of oars caught on the front of his boat. He reaches down in delight.
“Thank you, God!”
The man retrieves the oars, sits back and smiles. As he is smiling, he hears his stomach grumble, which is immediately followed by a sharp pain. He paddles feverishly in search of food. After paddling for many hours on an unusually hot day, he looks to the sky and asks,
“God, can I have an unlimited supply of food and water?”
Aware of the ritual that seems to have worked in the past, he prepares to sleep. As soon as he closes his eyes, he hears a boom in the front of his boat. He comments to himself,
“God never worked that fast in the past. I must be getting better at asking.”
He looks into the water to see a large wooden barrel. Excited, he dives in the water to push the barrel on board. Tired and hungry, he barely gets himself into the boat, but eventually makes it in. With all his energy, he pops the lid on the barrel only to find that it is empty. He moans loudly with disappointment then falls asleep.
The crash of the colliding thunder clouds abruptly wakes him from his slumber. He pops up with excitement, looks around and then talks into the darkness.
“This must be a sign from God”
He feels a raindrop. Then a few minutes later, he feels another. Suddenly a treacherous downpour erupts. In fear for his life, he bunkers down in his boat. His heart races as the boat rises and crashes along the rolling waves. He raises his head to look to the sky, but the stinging rain drops beat it back down. Remaining cowered and clinched to his oars, he eventually falls asleep.
He awakes to see a moving object inches from his face. Startled, he leaps back, rocking the boat on the now still waters. To his elation, he finds a large tuna flapping helplessly. As he stands to praise God, he notices the sun reflecting inside the barrel. He cautiously approaches. When he looks into the barrel, joy overtakes him. He dips his mouth toward the opening and sips. The taste of fresh rainwater provides him with a pleasure that he had forgotten even existed. His sips quickly turn into gulps. Refreshed and rejuvenated, he attacks the now lifeless tuna. He savagely bites into its flesh. Pulling chunks of skin and small bones from his mouth, he devours all edible parts of the fish. Slightly ashamed of his animistic act, he tosses the remains overboard. Moments later, he hears splashing in the water. With oar in hand, he looks over the boat’s edge to see an even bigger marlin come to the surface to snack on his discards. He whacks the fish with the oar, killing it. He exclaims,
“Thank you, God!”
He pulls the large marlin into the boat with a smile. Afterwards, he sits back in full contentment.
With all his immediate needs met, his mind has time to wonder.
“Every night I ask for something and every day God gives it to me. Tonight, I’m going to ask for everything I’ve ever wanted.”
For the remainder of the day, he paced around the small boat thinking of the many things he could ask God for. When night fall arrives, the man looks into the sky and commands,
“God, I want a bigger boat… no, I want a ship with a big kitchen… and plenty of things to do. And I want fancy clothing… and money… and jewelry. Oh, and I want to meet a pretty lady who is kind and giving.”
Satisfied with his order, he takes a bite out of the large fish at his feet, and then drifts into deep satisfying sleep.
When he awakes, nothing had changed except for the rotting smell coming from the marlin. He looks up to the sky with disdain. As his gaze lowers back to earth, he notices a large white object ahead. He yells out,
“My ship has come!”
Without hesitation, he kicks the partially eaten marlin back into the water, picks up his oars, and begins paddling towards the ship. When he arrives, he is greeted by a beautiful woman wearing a fancy robe. She instructs him,
“Tie this rope to your boat and come up.”
He does. When he reaches her, she hugs him.
“Come, let me show you around. He follows her.
Each room is more exquisite than the one preceding. The kitchen is stocked with years worth of non-perishable foods and many kinds of things to drink. It seems that all the treasures of the world are on this ship. The man exclaims,
“Yes, I did it!”
She interrupts his celebration.
“Well this is all yours now. I’m leaving. She hugs him again and then walks towards the railing where the ship has been tethered. He asks,
“Where are you going?”
She smiles warmly and replies. I’m going to find land. This ship is too big for one or even two people to manage. He retorts,
“But, I can control God. Whatever I tell him I want, he gives to me. My power can bring us anywhere we want to go!”
“I too have spoken with God and he delivered this boat.”
“What did you ask God for?”
She doesn’t answer until she makes it safely to the boat and has severed its tie to the ship. She shouts back,
“Just enough to get me to where I need to go.”
The moral of the story is ___________.