There was once a greedy, self-absorbed, yet successful, farmer who raised cows on his land.
A time came, though, when he fell into financial heartache and he could no longer buy enough food for the cows, and his land became insufficient to sustain them as well. The cows were his livelihood. If his cows were lost, all would be lost.
Out of desperation, he sought out kindness from a friend and neighbor who also carried on a successful business. The friend was compassionate, generous, kind and merciful toward the man. He helped the man feed his cows, and as a result, saved his business and helped gain his financial stability again.
Then, a time came when the friend fell into his own financial heartache. He remembered the man he helped years ago and knew that the man was now doing very well in his business. Surely, he would return the kindness.
But, the man had forgotten how desperate he used to be. He forgot how needy and helpless he was. His heart was no longer thankful. He was only consumed now with his restored wealth and he became very self-focused again. He reasoned that he could not help this friend for fear that it might somehow take what he might need later. He was not willing to risk for the sake of charity. So, he said no.
The friend was sad. Not so much for himself, but for the man. For, the man's situation may have changed, but his heart had not.