The Boat Painter

“It’s better to give than to receive” Acts 20:35

A man was commissioned to paint a boat. He brought with him paint and brushes and began to paint the boat a bright red just as the owner wanted. While painting, he realised there was a hole in the hull and decided to repair it. When he finished painting, he received his money and left.

The next day, the owner of the boat visited the painter and presented him with a cheque for a lump sum, much higher than what he was paid for the painting work.

The painter was surprised.

“You’ve already paid me for painting the boat, sir!” he said.

“This is not for the paint job. It’s for repairing the hole in the boat.”

“Ah! But it was such a small service.” The man protested. “Certainly it’s not worth paying me such a high amount for something so insignificant!”

“My dear friend,” the client said. “You don’t understand. Let me tell you what happened. When I asked you to paint the boat, I forgot to mention about the hole. When the boat dried, my kids took it and went on a fishing trip. They did not know that there was a hole there.

“I was not at home at the time. So when I returned and noticed that they had taken the boat, I was desperate because I remembered that it had a hole. Imagine my relief and joy when I saw them returning safely from fishing.

“Then, I examined the boat and found that you had repaired the hole! You now see what you did? You saved the life of my children! I do not have enough money to pay your seeming small good deed.”

This story is a great example of someone who did more than what was required. He did is job with excellence. This is also a great example of someone who believed in taking ownership, and much more.

I believe each one of us has a moral responsibility to offer to help, wipe tears, listen attentively and repair all the “leaks” we come across in our life’s journey, because we never know what impact our “small” work may have on other’s lives.


Photo by James Wheeler