How Much?

There once was a man named George Thomas,
who was a pastor in a small New England town.

One morning he came to the Church carrying a
rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit.

Eyebrows were raised, and as if in response,
Pastor Thomas began to speak...

"I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a
young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage.

On the bottom of the cage were three
little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.

I stopped the lad and asked,
"What do you have there, son?"

"Just some old birds,"
came the reply.

"What are you going to do with them?"
I asked.

"Take 'em home and have fun with 'em,"
he answered.

"I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to
make 'em fight.  I'm gonna have a real good time."

"But you'll get tired of those birds
sooner or later.  What will you do then?"

"Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy.
"They like birds.  I'll take 'em to them."

The pastor was silent for a moment.
"How much do you want for those birds, son?"

Why, you don't want them birds, mister.
They're just plain old field birds.
They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!"

"How much?" the pastor asked again.

The boy sized up the pastor as
if he were crazy and said, "$10?"

The pastor reached in his pocket and took
out a ten dollar bill.  He placed it in the
boy's hand.  In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently
carried it to the end of the alley where
there was a tree and a grassy spot.

Setting the cage down, he opened the door,
and by softly tapping the bars persuaded
the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the
pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were
having a conversation.

Satan had just come from the Garden of
Eden, and he was gloating and boasting.

"Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people
down there.  Set me a trap, used bait I
knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!"

"What are you going to do with them?"
Jesus asked.

Satan replied,
"Oh, I'm gonna have fun!

I'm gonna teach them how to marry and
divorce each other, how to hate and abuse
each other, how to drink and smoke and curse.

I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs
and kill each other.  I'm really gonna have fun!"

"And what will you do when you are
done with them?" Jesus asked.

"Oh, I'll kill 'em,"
Satan glared proudly.

"How much do you want for them?"
Jesus asked.

"Oh, you don't want those people.
They ain't no good.  Why, you'll take
them and they'll just hate you.

They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you.
You don't want those people!!"

"How much?" He asked again.

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered,
"All your blood, and your tears and then Your life."

Jesus said, "DONE!"
Then He paid the price.

And with that, the pastor picked up the
empty cage and walked away from the pulpit.
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