Throughout the week I am offered the last of several things be it gum, cake, a chip or soda. Whenever anyone asks me if I want to take the last piece I always ask them if they don’t want it first. They rarely say they do, and when they don’t I always be as gracious and grateful as I can. Some cultures even find it rude when something that is offered is not taken. I feel that I can live my life by this principle. Anytime you are given something and take it, you then owe a small favor to the person—maybe a simple thank you or something of your own. As long as you are extremely grateful to the giver, then your acceptance of the gift is always better than rejection. I feel that if you take the last piece without offering it up first then you are being greedy and don’t deserve what you are taking. When I give up the last piece I get a special feel of gratification that even whatever I gave up could give me, plus I might even get a reward the manifests itself in speech or material.
I always think about the story I was told when I was a kid about the man who went into the room for a banquet and there were only two chairs left, a small stool at the end and a huge luxurious armchair in the middle. The man chooses the large chair and soon after he sits down a tall man walks in and tries to sit down at the stool but is too tall so he asks the waiter for a larger chair. The man says that he will take care of it for him and goes over to the man in the large armchair and asks him to vacate it for the tall man leaving the small stool for him. The man is then confronted by a man who says that he can reverse time and the man agrees to go back to the time he entered the room. This time he came in and took the stool at the end. The tall man came in and talked to a waiter again and then the waiter comes over to the man and offers him the large chair saying that the man who came in was the owner and would offer his chair up at anytime to someone as kind and modest as him. Take the last piece if you are offered it, always. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.