In a small town far away, a young man started his own business—a dime store at the corner of two streets. He was a good man. He was honest and friendly, and the people loved him.
They bought his goods and they told their friends about him. His business grew and he expanded his store. In a matter of years, he developed his one store into a chain from coast to coast.
One day, he was taken ill to the hospital, and the doctors feared that his life was ending soon.
He called together all three of his adult children and gave them this challenge: “One of the three of you will become the president of this company that I have built over the years. To decide which one of you deserves to become the president, I am going to give each of you a one-dollar bill.
Go today and buy whatever you can with that one dollar, but when you get back here to my hospital room this evening, whatever you buy with your dollar must fill this room from corner to corner.”
The children were all excited at the opportunity to run such a successful organization.
Each went to town and spent the dollar. When they came back in the evening, the father asked, “Child number one, what have you done with your dollar?”
“Well, Dad,” he said, “I went to my friend’s farm, gave him my dollar, and bought two bales of hay.” With that, the son went outside the room, brought in the bales of hay, undid them, and began to throw the hay up into the air.
For a moment, the room was filled with hay. But in a few moments, the hay all settled on the floor and the room was not completely filled from corner to corner, as the father had instructed.
“Well, child number two, what have you done with your dollar?
“I went to Sears,” he said, “and bought two pillows made with feathers.” He then brought in the pillows, opened them, and threw the feathers all over the room. In time, all the feathers settled down on the floor and the room was still not filled.
“And you, child number three,” the father added, “what have you done with your dollar?”
“I took my dollar, Dad, and went to a store like the one you had years ago,” the third child said. “I gave the owner my dollar and asked him for some change. Some quarters and dimes and nickels.
I invested 50 cents of my dollar in something very worthwhile, just like the Bible says. Then I gave 20 cents of my dollar to two charitable organizations in our city. Twenty more cents I donated to our church. That left me with one dime. With the dime, I bought two items.”
The son then reached in his pocket and took out a little matchbook and a little candle. He lit the candle, turned off the light switch, and the room was filled. From corner to corner, the room was filled—not with hay, not with feathers, but with light.
His father was delighted. “Well done, my son. You will become president of this company because you understand a very important lesson about life. You understand how to let your light shine. That is good.”