There was once a preacher who was instructed by God to preach in a village. The village was full of wrong doers. There were bullies, thieves and gangsters.
The preacher felt that no amount of preaching would have any effect on its headstrong people. He pleaded with God not to send him there but God did not listen.
Worried for his safety but not wanting to displease God, the preacher set out for the village. He started his preaching with strong words and warnings. He told the villagers that if they did not follow the path of non-violence, God would destroy their village in forty days. The preacher was confident that God would favour him rather than the villagers and carry out his threat in forty days’ time.
Every day he would sit under a tree and begin his sermons. The villagers scoffed at him at first, but slowly they started paying heed to his words. They also felt threatened about God’s wrath and were afraid that they would all be destroyed as they believed that the preacher was a messenger of God. By the end of forty days, almost everyone had changed their ways and the village was a more peaceful and secure place. Only a bunch of really bad hooligans remained and the preacher was sure that God would destroy the village to teach them a lesson and prove him right.
But God did nothing of that sort. The village was not destroyed and the preacher was disgusted. He thought that nobody would believe him or his words any longer and he retreated to the outskirts of the village. He built a hut under the shade of a huge neem tree. The tree was very shady and the wind from its branches and leaves made him cool. The trunk protected him from sandy gusts and the preacher grew very fond of the tree. But one day, a very forceful storm caused the tree to fall and die. The preacher was very sad and angry with God for causing him all the trouble.
God then replied, ‘you feel sad at the death of a tree that you have neither sown nor nourished and yet you expect me to think nothing of destroying the village which houses thousands of my children?’
The preacher understood that every being, good or bad, is precious in the eyes of God.