Following the passing of an extremely wealthy woman, her heirs gathered to learn what portion of the estate each would receive. From the executor they learned that on a certain date in the future, each would receive enough money to pay off all their debts, and more, if they met a set of requirements before that day. The requirements included such actions as joining and contributing a number of hours to a charitable organization; selecting a stranger and paying for his or her college tuition; entirely forsaking a bad habit; and seeking out everyone they had wronged in their lives, asking forgiveness, and making amends. “The allotted time,” said the executor, “is expected to be enough to meet these stipulations. If you fail to meet them, you relinquish any and all claim upon your inheritance.”
Some of the heirs procrastinated, one thinking he had plenty of time, and another sure she could argue her way around the requirements and receive her due without any effort on her part. But eventually the day arrived, and they received none of the money that the will had made available to them. They were left to their own devices to meet their obligations instead of benefiting from the generous wealth of their mother.
One among the heirs decided the requirements were just too difficult and therefore didn’t put forth the slightest effort. She too received no benefit on the day of reckoning.
Still another decided to take advantage of the terms and piled up more and more debt. But he spent so much time accumulating debt and enjoying the fruits of his spree that he failed to meet the requirements of the will. So he came to the day of reckoning in a deeper hole than when he started, with no way to climb out without declaring bankruptcy and losing his possessions.
But some of the heirs met the requirements. They completed them at different rates and some with greater degree of skill than others. Nevertheless, on that final day, they received all that had been promised, and that which had been forfeited by the other heirs also fell to them.
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