A group of business professionals was gathered for their monthly luncheon. As was their custom once each year, they invited their pastors to join them. After the meal they had scheduled a famous actor to provide some entertainment as people were enjoying coffee and dessert. The actor stood before them dramatically reciting lines from famous plays and poetry. At one point he invited requests from those in attendance. One elderly priest rose and spoke. “Would you recite for us Psalm 23?” The actor, a bit surprised by the unusual request, ﬁnally agreed. “Father,” he said,”I’ll agree to your request under one condition. After I recite the psalm, I’d be honored if you would then recite it too.” Reluctantly, the elderly priest agreed.
So the actor presented a stunningly beautiful recitation of Psalm 23, to which people responded with enthusiastic applause. Then he turned to the priest and said, “Okay, Father, your turn.” So the priest rather hesitantly stood and began reciting the famous psalm. “The Lord is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want.”
When he ﬁnished, there was no applause, just hushed silence. The people, so moved by his simple recitation, were sitting with tears running down their faces. After a few moments the actor rose and spoke. “Ladies and gentlemen, I spoke to your ears. But this man has spoken to your hearts. And here’s the difference. I know Psalm 23. But this man knows the Shepherd.”
Source | Dan Shutte, Walking the Sacred Path: Spiritual Exercises for Today
(Twenty-Third Publications, 2009)
Sometimes we mistakenly think that our faith is about understanding the truths of our faith, or professing a particular creed of beliefs, or learning the Holy Scriptures. But these things are only secondary. Our faith, at its core, is about our relationship with God, and with Jesus, the one who showed us the face of God.
Once upon a time there was a man who wanted to go on a trip. He decided to do this by taking a bus. He went to the bus station to buy a ticket. The man at the ticket counter said, “What kind of ticket do you want – first class, second class, or third class?” The man decided he was a first class kind of a guy, and spent the extra cash needed to secure a first class passage.
It came time for the passengers who had bought tickets to get on the bus. The “first class” man was the only one who had chosen to buy that level of ticket. He got on the bus and asked the driver, “Where do I sit?” The driver replied, “Anywhere you want?” This made the man a little angry. He thought first class people should have special seats you, see. “Well then, wait a minute. Where do the second class people sit?” “Anywhere they want.” replied the driver. Now the man was really angry. “Well, heck, where do the third class people sit?” The driver replied, “Anywhere they want.” The man was about to make a stink at this point because there seemed to be no advantage to paying a higher ticket price, but before he could, more people got on the bus and the driver was otherwise occupied. The man took a seat and began sulking.
Now a half hour into the bus ride, the bus broke down because of a flat tire. The driver got on the loudspeaker and said, “OK, third class people, get out of the bus and change the tire.” The third class people tramped off the bus. Then he said, “OK you second class people, get off the bus and supervise the third class people to make sure they get that tire fixed.” So the second class people tramped off the bus.
Finally there was no one left but the driver and the man who held the first class ticket. “Well, what should I do?” the first class man asked the driver. “Nothing.” replied the driver. “Remember – you’re going first class. All you have to do is watch.”
Source | Unknown
PONDER AND CONSIDER
There are three types of people in this world. The people who fix the tires, the people who stand around saying “fix the tire” and the people who sit around and do nothing. Which one are you?
- Are you a first class ticket kind of person? Always top of the line, always wanting to be served, taking no initiative and doing nothing?
- Are you second class, all talk and no action? You know what you should be doing, but you don’t do it.
- Are you third class? Do you get off that bus whenever a need emerges, fixing in the best way you can the flat tires and hurts of this world? Are you an active agent of and for change when it comes to tikkun olam [Hebrew word meaning “repairing the world”]