Let me share with you an ancient parable that I just made up:
Three brothers were walking through the woods one day when each of them fell into a separate pit.
The youngest brother tried to crawl out of the pit, but he couldn’t do it.
The middle brother tried to climb out of the pit, but he couldn’t do it either.
The oldest brother, just like the others, tried to climb out and couldn’t manage it.
And so they waited there for days, getting hungry, getting thirsty, getting desperate.
Til one day, a farmer comes along and says to the oldest brother, “I can help you out of the pit. And all it will cost you is $10,000.”
Now. the oldest brother wasn’t wealthy. He could scrape together the money and he was desperate. So he did. Took out a small loan, dipped into his savings, paid the farmer to help him out of the pit.
Now, afterwards, he was very grateful to the farmer who helped him… although you could see a slight deadness to his eyes whenever he talked about it.
For the middle brother, a merchant came along and said, “I can help you out of the pit. I will use my strength, I will use my cunning, I will use my ingenuity to fashion you a rope, a pulley, a ladder, and help you out of the pit.”
And with his help, the middle brother managed to climb out too.
He was so happy because he had his freedom and it didn’t even cost him anything, unlike his older brother.
But still, when he spoke about the incident, he seemed a little shaken up.
And then came the younger brother.
A wise monk came to him and he said, “I will teach you how to get out of the pit. I will teach you what you need to do, how you need to do it, how to build up the strength so you can climb out of this pit and every other pit you encounter in the future.”
And so the younger brother was there in the pit practicing long after his older brothers had gotten home safely.
He was there with the wise monk, helping him, working hard, spending all of his time training to get stronger.
And under his own power he was able to climb out.
Now, unlike his other brothers, not only does he smile when he recounts this story, he even dug a pit just like it in his backyard so that he could sleep down there.
Every morning he would climb out of the pit just to remind himself that he could.
Like every good parable this has many morals and many meanings.
One of the biggest ones is just because something helps you doesn’t mean it’s good.
Something is only truly good if it not only helped you in the past, but it will help you again in the future.
Any help you depend on forever is no real help at all.