A dying man gathered his
lawyer, doctor, and clergyman at his bedside and handed each of them an envelope
containing $25,000 in cash.
He asked them to promise that after his death and during his memorial service, they would place the three envelopes in his coffin. He told them that he wanted to have enough money to enjoy the afterlife. A week later the man died.
At the wake, the lawyer, doctor, and clergyman, each concealed an envelope in the coffin and bid their old client and friend farewell. By chance, these three met several months later.
Soon the clergyman, feeling guilty, blurted out a confession, saying that there was only $10,000 in the envelope he placed in the coffin. He felt, rather than waste all the money, he would send it to a mission in South America. He asked for their forgiveness.
The doctor, moved by the gentle clergyman's sincerity, confessed that he, too, had kept some of the money for a new x-ray machine at his hospital. The envelope, he admitted, had only $8,000 in it. He said, he too could not bring himself to waste the money so frivolously when it could be used to benefit others.
By this time, the lawyer was seething with self-righteous outrage. He expressed his deep disappointment in the felonious behavior of two of his oldest and most trusted friends. He boasted, "I am the only one who kept his promise to our dying friend. I want you both to know that the envelope I placed in the coffin contained the full amount. Indeed, my envelope contained my personal check for the entire $25,000."