Dark clouds came over the horizon of a small valley. As they gathered, the skies grew dark, temperatures dropped, snow fell, and the wind began to howl. It was an unexpected storm, and because it was early in the season, several doves were caught needing to find immediate shelter, or perish.
As it happened, they found an old dilapidated barn. Part of the roof was missing, several of the outside doors were gone. Nevertheless, it was the only cover available and that which they chose to take. So, the doves flew in and found shelter in the hay and rafters.
By chance, also caught in the storm, was a flock of sparrows. They too had to escape the bitter cold and so flew into the old barn in hopes of finding warmth and rest.
During the night the temperature dropped even lower and the wind became violent.
The next morning the farmer got up to do his chores and went to the barn to collect his tools. As he opened the door, he made a startling discovery. He found that several of the doves had fallen to their death on the floor of the barn, yet others had survived the night. He couldn’t understand why some doves remained alive even though they were also cold and unable to fly.
The farmer pursued his investigation and he found that the doves that had survived the long, cold night were the ones who had opened their wings to the sparrows and given them shelter and warmth. In giving of themselves, they had received their own life.
It is the same with us. When we give of ourselves we receive something that is beneficial and whole. In giving to others, we are the true receivers.