News media recently carried the story of Giorgio Angelozzi, an 80-year-old widower living near Rome. He was so lonely that he put an ad in the newspaper. He offered to pay 500 euros per month — something over $650 — to any family that would "adopt" him as a grandfather.

We humans want relationships. No, we need them. God has created us to be social creatures. When we either withdraw or get isolated from caring people, something happens to our emotional and spiritual lives that can be deadly.

There is an old rabbinic story of a farmer who had two sons. He reared them on his place and taught them everything he knew about growing crops and raising animals. When the man died, the two heirs owned the land and farmed it in equal partnership with each other. It was a pleasant and prosperous venture.

In time, the younger brother married and had a large family of eight wonderful children. The older brother, however, remained single his entire life.

In a particularly good crop year, the harvest from their joint labors was greater than ever before. So the bachelor brother thought to himself, "My brother has ten mouths to feed, while I have only one. But I know him too well to think he will be willing to renegotiate our equal partnership. I know what I will do. In the dead of night, while he is asleep, I will shift some of what I have put in my barn into his to help him feed his family."

At the same time, the younger brother was thinking to himself, "God has given me a wife and these eight precious children. My brother has not been so fortunate, and he will need more in reserve for his old age than I will. But he will never renegotiate our partnership. I know what I will do. In the dead of night, while he is sleeping, I will slip some of the harvest already stored in my barn into his."

So on a night when the moon was full, the two brothers came face to face — each of them on a mission of kindness to the other!

Get the real point of life?
According to the story, a gentle rain began to fall, but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was God weeping for joy because two of his children had gotten the point about life's meaning. Relationship is everything. To care about another is to exhibit the heart of God. Generosity is the purest exhibition of holiness. Because we are in the image of God, such generosity is also the secret to our own joy.

Should more lonely people place newspaper ads? Or should you and I be more observant? Learn to care more? Get the real point of life?

Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God's Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves ... (Philippians 2:3 CEV)