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The Beaver and the Rabbit

A young beaver named Bennie made up in his mind to work hard and to gain many riches and possessions for himself. When he was old enough, Bennie became an employee of a dam building company that greatly admired his work ethic. Bennie worked more than any of the other employees, almost 45 hours per week! He hardly even stopped to rest or eat! About the only thing that Bennie did besides work was shop! When Bennie first left his parents’ home, he had to rent a room in someone else’s house and he could only afford the essentials like bath towels, clothes, shoes, and food. As time wore on, Bennie increased his work time to 50 hours per week and his employer rewarded him with more money. With this, Bennie was able to buy bigger and nicer things like a used motorcycle and a portable music player. Eventually he was even able to move into an apartment of his own. The apartment was very small of course but it was all his. As the years passed, Bennie’s employer decided to make him the Supervisor. This meant a lot more responsibility but also a lot more money. Bennie now had to work 60 hours per week, but he didn’t mind because now he could afford a large apartment, a brand new car, and a wireless phone that could play music and surf the Internet! Bennie didn’t spend all of his money though. He saved a small amount of it each week in a special place. After many years, he had saved enough money to start his own dam building company! He bought all the necessary supplies, hired many employees, and even hired an advertising agency to handle his marketing. As owner of the company, Bennie had a lot of things to do like patrolling construction sites, signing paychecks, and firing unsafe employees. He had so many duties as the owner that he now had to work over 80 hours per week. Since Bennie was a hard worker and was very focused on his company, his company started making lots of money, millions in fact! Bennie became the richest beaver in the whole forest. He bought a ridiculously over-sized seven-bedroom house that included a garage large enough to store his eight cars. He bought the nicest clothes and ate only the best food. He bought a sail boat, a motor home, and a private jet. Bennie had everything he had ever hoped to gain. There was just one thing missing, but Bennie didn’t know what it was. Eventually, Bennie began to grow old and was unable to work as often as he wanted to. That gave him more time to shop and play with his “toys” but he was often too tired for those things too. When Bennie was very old and starting to get sick, he had to stop working and sell his company to another beaver. By this time, he just didn’t have enough energy to enjoy any of the things he had bought for himself. Nor did he have the energy, or even the desire, to buy more stuff. Bennie spent most of his last days and nights alone in his huge house staring at his huge television while lying in his huge bed. When he had reached a certain age, Bennie died. Since he had no wife or children, Bennie’s home and all of his possessions were given to his nieces and nephews and their children. Sadly, Bennie didn’t know any of these relatives because he had spent most of his life working. On the day of his funeral, not one animal came to attend.

A young rabbit named Rodney made up in his mind to work hard and to gain many friends for himself. When he was old enough, Rodney left his parents’ home and moved into a spare room at his aunt and uncle’s house. His uncle taught him how to farm while his aunt taught him how to sew and knit. Rodney was a hard worker and always followed instructions, but he always stopped working long enough to play with his nieces and nephews and to chat with the neighbors. In time, Rodney was good friends with just about everyone around. Many of them even bought the fruits and vegetables that he grew on his aunt and uncle’s land. He didn’t earn much money but he didn’t spend much either. After many years had passed, Rodney had saved enough money to buy a large piece of land on which to build his own farm. Since he had spent nearly all of his money on his farm, Rodney couldn’t afford a vehicle like a car or even a bicycle. Fortunately, a cheerful hedgehog volunteered to drive him around when necessary in exchange for some knitting and small amounts of food. Rodney also couldn’t afford fun things like music players or television. Instead, Rodney often hung out with a group of bears that had formed a jug band. One bear played a banjo, another played a washboard, and another played the jug. Every once in a while, Rodney would sing with them. He wasn’t a very good singer though, so it was mostly just for laughs. Rodney wasn’t terribly talented at anything really but that didn’t stop him from playing checkers with Tommy the turtle, basketball with Mitch the moose, or video games with Sid the skunk. It wasn’t all fun and games either. Despite being busy with his farm, Rodney managed to find time to help with the gardening and chores of other animals. He was always willing to offer a helping paw to anyone who asked. Rodney never really made that much money but he didn’t want to impose on his aunt and uncle either so he did eventually move out into his own place. He managed to buy an old shack from a gopher in exchange for some digging and vegetables. In time, Rodney grew old, too old to maintain his farm, and so he had to sell it. Between the money he had received from selling the farm and the money he had saved over the years, Rodney had just enough to get him through the final years of his life. As he grew older and sicker, Rodney couldn’t go out much but there was no shortage of visitors to his humble shack. Everyone from raccoons to badgers came to pay a visit and share a story or a warm cup of tea. When he had reached a certain age, Rodney died. The few remaining possessions Rodney had owned were given to his nieces and nephews and their children. They cherished these things very much because they remembered how much joy Rodney had brought them while he was alive. On the day of his funeral, every animal in the forest came to attend.

Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless.

As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owner
except to feast his eyes on them?

The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
whether he eats little or much,
but the abundance of a rich man
permits him no sleep.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-12 NIV

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