A businessman was in a great deal of trouble. His business was failing, he had put everything he had into the business, he owed everybody — it was so bad he was even contemplating suicide. As a last resort he went to a priest and poured out his story of tears and woe.
When he had finished, the priest said, “Here’s what I want you to do: Put a beach chair and your Bible in your car and drive down to the beach. Take the beach chair and the Bible to the water’s edge, sit down in the beach chair, and put the Bible in your lap. Open the Bible; the wind will rifle the pages, but finally the open Bible will come to rest on a page. Look down at the page and read the first thing you see. That will be your answer, that will tell you what to do.”
A year later the businessman went back to the priest and brought his wife and children with him. The man was in a new custom-tailored suit, his wife in a mink coat, the children shining. The businessman pulled an envelope stuffed with money out of his pocket, gave it to the priest as a donation in thanks for his advice.
The priest recognized the benefactor, and was curious. “You did as I suggested?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” replied the businessman.
“You went to the beach?”
“You sat in a beach chair with the Bible in your lap?”
“You let the pages rifle until they stopped?”
“And what were the first words you saw?”