THE MASTER & SLAVE
Two mynah birds met on top of a lamp post in a park one sunny day. One was plump, with well-groomed shiny feathers. The other looked half-starved and had dull-looking feathers. The plump bird was named Chub-b-bee by his mother, who was rather proud of her warbling voice.
“Good morning Mr Chub-b-bee, sir,” greeted the thinner bird. “Mr Chub-b-bee, how do you manage to look so well-fed in these hard times?”
Chub-b-bee looked down his gleaming beak at Slim. “Why, Slim, that’s because I eat well. I don’t want to boast, but only the best food is good enough for me!”
“Yes, yes, but where do you find such food? What is your secret, please?” asked Slim.
“My secret is that I pray,” replied Chub-b-bee piously. “You should pray too.”
“But I do, I do!” chirped Slim, nodding his black head vigorously. “I pray three times a day.”
“Ah, but it’s not how often you pray that matters, it’s who you pray to.”
“Eh? Who do you pray to, Mr Chub-b-bee, sir?” asked Slim.
Chub-b-bee stuck out his chest and fluffed out his feathers until he looked like a big black ball. He jerked his beak in one direction.
“See that big white house with the red roof, just outside the park? That’s where my god lives. Every morning, I perch on a high branch of the mango tree outside the upper window and look in at my sleeping god. It’s no use praying when he is sleeping, you know?”
“Oh. I didn’t know that. But do go on, sir, do go on!”
“Well, at 8 o’clock, a box in his room rings and my god wakes up. Isn’t he amazing? He can make something with no life force in it speak to him to wake him up. That’s my god. Mighty is he.”
“So you pray to him as soon as he wakes up?”
“No, Slim, timing is everything. I fly down to a lower branch and wait until he comes down to his breakfast table. When he has eaten for a while, that’s when I sing as loudly and beautifully as I know how. ‘My lord, my lord, please look at poor hungry me. Please feed me! Please feed me!”
“That’s when food drops down from the sky?” Slim asked, in awe.
“No, no. My lord then comes to the window, smiles at me and throws to me cereal or pieces of bread, whatever he was eating. Why, Slim, I’m eating the very food of the gods!”
“Wow….” Slim gasped. “Okay, I’ll join you at the mango tree tomorrow morning, and pray with you.”
“Don’t you dare!” shrieked Chub-b-bee. “Go fly around another part of town and find your own god to pray to!”
“Okay, thanks,” sang Slim with joy, as he flew off on his sacred quest.
Chub-b-bee saw nary a feather of Slim for a couple of weeks. Then, late one morning, a bird flew towards the old lamp post in the park.
“Good heavens!” exclaimed Chub-b-bee, “could that be old Slim? But it looks bigger and fatter around the waist than Slim ever was.” But it was Slim all right.
“Slim! Is that you old bird? My, my, you’ve come up in the world, I see. So praying works for you too, huh?”
Slim lifted up one foot and studied his toes carefully. “Not exactly, Chub,” he replied, in a superior way, you understand. Then he went on to explain.
“Well, at first I tried your pleading method of praying. ‘Please lord, give me my daily rice, cereal, bread and cake, Amen’, I sang over and over again. And it worked just as you said. But one day I forgot to say ‘Please lord”, and you know what? He gave me my food just the same. And the next day, the same thing happened. Now when I yell out, ‘Hey you! Gimme my food, now!’ he does! So do you see, Chub, I’ve become a god and he has become my obedient servant! Chub, from now on, address me with due respect. You may call me: My Great God.”
How are you praying to the Almighty God? Are you treating Him with all due honour and respect, or are you treating him like a wish-granting servant?