Selflessness: A Rare Attribute

A farmer was once approached by another farmer with a proposal that would help them both “save a few bucks.”

The second farmer, a longtime friend, suggested that the two men go in equally on the purchase of some needed farming equipment.

It seemed a logical proposal. Raising crops for a living is risky business — and a frugal farmer welcomes almost any opportunity to cut costs and expand slim profit margins. Plus, the new equipment offered both farmers the potential of increasing their respective yields.

But after much consideration the first farmer declined his friend’s offer. Yes, he agreed, the divided costs would ease their operating expenses — but the shared equipment carried a seed of conflict. What if both farmers’ fields were ripe for harvest on the same day? What if their respective irrigation turns arrived simultaneously? Each farmer could become selfish and would insist he needed the equipment most, jeopardizing both the harvests and a valued friendship.

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