His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from the nearest bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. The bog is like quicksand and is notorious for swallowing men alive. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what would have been a slow and terrifying death.
The following day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s small one room house. It was just one oversized mud brick cottage with a thatched roof using the hard ground as a floor. An elegantly dressed nobleman approached the open door and introduced himself as the father of the boy Fleming had saved.
“I want to repay you”, said the nobleman. “You saved my son’s life”.
“Nay, I cannot accept any reward or payment for what I did. The boy’s safety is pay enough for me”.
At that moment the farmer’s own son came to the door. “Is this your son?”, the nobleman asked. “Yes”, the farmer replied proudly.
“I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.”
That he did. Farmer Fleming’s son, Alexander, attended the very best schools and in time graduated with honors from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London. Through diligent research, he became known throughout the world as the Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same Nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog by the farmer, was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin! The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son’s name? Sir Winston Churchill.
This legend has circulated for many years. I am not sure that the story is true, but it is a good story. It teaches lessons in great principles; of the cry of helplessness, of the beauty of saving one from a horrible death, of unselfishness, and generosity, and how life always seems to work its way out for the better.
Read the words of the Apostle Paul when he wrote, “Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. . . “As it is written: He that scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever” (II Corinthians 9:6-9).
Ah, just give me the heart of a nobleman that gives to all men generously out of a loving heart.