Monday, June 15, 2009

Being Misunderstood

If you have ever been misunderstood, the following story should bring a degree of comfort. Many times in this life our good intentions are seen in a dark light. The same was true for "The Miser of Marseilles."

Have you ever heard about "The Miser of Marseilles?" About twenty-three years ago, he was a figure on the streets of that town. He lived for nothing but money. He gripped, and he grabbed, and he kept. A miser, a money grub, and very wealthy he was known to be. He was the object of derision throughout the whole of Marseilles, and the South of France. When he appeared in the streets, the boys hooted at him. When he was mentioned among his business associates, they jeered at him, the old skinflint, the miserable old wretch, heaping up money, storing it up. Ah, he was contented thus to live, and thus to die; and his body was carried to the grave without a single attendant. There was not a soul in Marseilles but gave a kind of sneer, and a kind of curse, as he passed the body of the miser on the way to the grave.

Ah, yes, but when his will was read, what is this that brings mourning and lamentation to the whole city: It is this: "From my infancy, I noticed that the poor of Marseilles had great difficulty in getting water. I noticed that water, the gift of God, was very dear, and very difficult to obtain in this city, pure and sweet: and I vowed before God that I would live but for one purpose, for one end. I would save money, money, money; and now I give it to the city, on one condition, that an aqueduct be made from yonder lake on the hills to Marseilles."

As they drink the sweet, luscious, fresh water of that city, I believe the poor say, "Ah, when he lived we misunderstood him, but he did it for us." The bubbling fountain in Marseilles was the gift of the man who was misunderstood and jeered at.

Do you catch it? Jesus was there on the Cross, and the priests said: "If you be the Son of God, come down from the cross," and they all mocked Him, and jeered at Him. Yet, it is from this despised One, this Christ, that the souls, needy and thirsty and despairing, are drinking tonight the water of life. -- John Robertson

The Miser of Marseilles (an illustration of how Christ's ministry and sacrificial death were maligned and misunderstood by his contemporaries) A man of the name of Guyo lived and died in the town of Marseilles, in France. He amassed a large fortune by laborious industry and severe habits of abstinence and privation. His neighbors considered him a miser, and thought that he was hoarding up money from mean and avaricious motives. The populace pursued him, whenever he appeared, with hootings and execrations, and the boys sometimes threw stones at him. He at length died, and in his will were found the following words: "Having observed from my infancy that the poor of Marseilles were ill supplied with water, which can only be purchased at a great price, I have cheerfully labored the whole of my life to procure for them the great blessing; and I direct that the whole of my property shall be laid out in building an aqueduct for their use."

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