The Chofetz Chaim provides an astonishing mashal which we can and must each learn from.
A man of great wealth sent two different representatives to purchase precious stones for him to a far away land. To one, he gave 1,000 gold coins, and to the other he gave 100 gold coins. Both were sizable sums, but the greater amount was entrusted with the more responsible sh’liach.
The representatives went on their way together, proud of their assignment and determined to do well. Their spark and ambition began to give way towards their own personal needs, and they realized that they could ‘live a little’ by spending just a little bit of the money with which they had been entrusted. After all, they would be certainly be able to easily make up the money spent with some wise purchases at the end of their destination and they needed to take care of themselves today.
It wasn’t very long before the 1,000 gold coins became 200 in the hands of the first agent, and the 100 dwindled to 40 in the hands of the other. Both began to get a bit nervous, and their jitters suddenly exploded into a reciprocal ranting.
The more entrusted one yelled: “How can you compare yourself to me?! You have only 40 gold coins to your entire name and I have five times as much!!"
To which the lesser agent responded: “What an incredible fool you are! What are you boasting about! Those 200 gold coins are not yours, you are only a sh’liach who has been entrusted with the money to bring back gems. In fact, you are much, much poorer than me, for I spent 60 coins of our sender’s money but you squandered and owe him a whopping 800!! You are going to have a lot more of explaining to do! I don’t envy at all the shame and disgrace that you will face and the heavy price you are going to have to pay for your enormous derogation of responsibility!”
The nimshal is stark and clear. We here in this world are all sh’luchim, agents of Hashem from the higher worlds, entrusted with a mission to rectify and cleanse our souls - each in accordance with the level of wisdom and responsibility which Hashem has placed within us.
It would be ridiculous for a person to consider himself superior to his friend, or in any matter be haughty - for his wisdom, wealth or talent is not his - but was given to him for a special and dedicated purpose - his unique and singular mission in life.
A person must exercise great care to fulfill that mission with that which he has been equipped - for if one acts responsibly, it is truly a real and attainable goal. Along the route, one must be especially careful not to allow himself to be sidetracked with the wiles and guile of the Yetzer Hora-allowing this indulgence after that desire, this hankering after that immoderation - none of which disappear after ‘their use’ but instead continuously pile up into what can mount into an embarrassing and unexplainable heap and mess.
One must most certainly appreciate the hours that he has each day for Torah and Tefillah and not allow them to be squandered, unaccounted for, or spent away rather than serving their purpose. Each day, and the precious hours that it is comprised of, can go far in taking those gold coins one has received and fulfilling their entrusted mission - practically, meaningfully and successfully!
What an important message!
Taken from a recent Hakhel post.