Wisdom Story – 44

There was a group of elderly gentlemen in Japan who would meet to exchange news and drink tea. One of their diversions was to search for costly varieties of tea and create new blends that would delight the palate.

When it was the turn of the oldest member of the group to entertain the others, he served tea with the greatest ceremony, measuring out the leaves from a golden container. Everyone had the highest praise for the tea and demanded to know by what particular combination he had arrived at this exquisite blend.

The old man smiled and said, “Gentlemen, the tea that you find so delightful is the one that is drunk by the peasants on my farm. The finest things in life are neither costly nor hard to find.”

[Source: Anthony de Mello, S.J.; http://www.spiritual-short-stories.com/spiritual-short-story-331-Best+Tea+In+Japan.html]


  1. Angela says

    So one of the men packaged the leaves in gold foil, stuck an “organic” label to it and sold it at a price that none of the peasants could afford to pay.

  2. says

    We so often overlook the ‘beauty of the ordinary, the common’ because we search for what we think is ‘better’. Jesus, then and now, didn’t come in royal robes or gold crowns. This makes me look at those around me and those I interact with everyday. These are the ‘special blends’ and I am most grateful.

    • Paul says


      As you so wisely say, “Jesus, then and now, didn’t come in royal robes or gold crowns.” Let’s hope we all learn that lesson in the core of our beings.


  3. says

    This reminds me that the constant search for then next-best-thing obscures us from the simple treasures all around us. The thought of “what good could come from Nazareth,” pardon the paraphrase, comes to mind.

  4. Tim Merriman says

    Sometimes we fail to realize what we are all searching for is right there in front of us, and it has been all along. We need to learn to open our eyes.

    Have a great weekend everyone…


  5. says

    “all that is necessary is to love and accept the present moment as the best, with perfect trust in God’s universal goodness.” JP de Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment.
    I realize the above quote does not quite fit with your delightful story. What it suddenly brings back to my mind, however, is serving my mother-in-law, years ago, when I was first married and really broke, a Tavola red (its real name, a very cheap red wine) in a crystal decanter. She found the wine very good…
    Ah, most of all, thank you for starting my day on the right foot :-)

  6. Marg says

    Sometimes the wrapper is deceiving. The quality of the insides always comes through.

    Claire, I remember being a young wife and Mom and packaging my homemade Christmas cookies in fancy looking (but cheap) glass containers for my husband to give as presents at work. My little girl and I worked a whole day on those! They were a hit. I know my cookies are good, but I bet they were better in a glass container. People are funny!


    • Paul says


      It is amazing how often the wrapper is taken for reality. I remember as a young man having a check refused by an airline. I went home and my sister told me to put on a suit and tie and try again. I went to the same airline office an hour later and had no problem using my check to buy a ticket…


  7. says

    Being the casual dresser that I am and always will be, it’s amazing how people often accept and approve of those that are “wrapped” appropriately, regardless of what’s on the inside. As a former teacher, I particularly remember a principal that preferred teachers to look “nice” over doing their job. In this New Year, I pray that people will take time to look beyond the many different kinds of wrappers that we have before us, and discover the potential that lives inside.

    • Paul says


      Just yesterday a friend told me of a woman she saw at a donut shop who looked scary. She tried to avoid her but the woman said, “I’m going to escort you to your car because those two men are going to try to rob you.” What seemed like a threatening person was actually an angel in disguise…


  8. Emma says

    A little while back during my “church search” I made the aquaintance of a woman who was in a snit because a very dirty looking, she was sure, homeless man had partaken of the Eucharist. She was sure he was stealing it for food!??! Then, during the summer, I had made a little extra money and as I was leaving the bank, the van from the church shelter was parked in the lot. Feeling “flush”, I had the impulse to wrap up a $20 bill and slip it under the wiper. When I got to the van, I was so thrilled to see the driver’s side window down!! I reached in and placed the money wrapped in a little piece of paper onto the driver’s seat. Just as I stood up, the woman came out of the bank and ran up on me yelling, “What did you put in my car?” I sheepishly said, “money.” Of course, her demeanor changed. I was disappointed because I was trying to be anonymous. I think tho’ that my age, my ripped jeans and purple, black, red hair is what prompted the defensiveness of that woman. I hope she learned that day that young people that look like me, are not always suspect and troublesome. Having been on the receiving end of her rush to judgement, I learned to be less judgemental myself.

    • says

      Emma, you are such a wise young person who has experienced a great deal of life at a young age. You have so much to share. We need to be happy that people are coming to receive Jesus and not criticize their appearance. Jesus loves each of us equally and we are all on different journeys. I feel so blessed to read what you share with us at People for Others.

      • emma says


        Isn’t it wonderful that there are no two of us who are exactly alike? A crystalline reflection of our Creator. Tho’ I haven’t given up on Jesus, I have given up my search for the perfect church! The perfect church ,I’ve learned , does not exist; unless it’s located on the wild coast, in a garden, or a forest. PFO is the closest I get to a “church”. I guess in alot of ways, it is my church. Thank you for answering my questions. There are lots of times when I could use and welcome others input.

  9. Angela says

    Was it the advertising business that birthed the phrase “It’s all in the packaging”? It applied first to products, then to people and now to ideas – even theology. To get to the truth, we have to learn to peel away the wrapping.

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