Once upon a time there was a fire in a small town. The fire brigade rushed to the scene, but the fireman were unable to get through to the burning building. The problem was the crowd of people who had gathered not to watch but to help put out the fire. They all knew the fire chief well – their children had climbed over his fire engines during excursions to the fire station, and the friendliness of the fire chief was legendary. So when a fire broke out the people rushed out to help their beloved fire chief.
Unfortunately the townsfolk were seeking to extinguish this raging inferno with water pistols! They’d all stand there, from time to time squirting their pistol into the fire while making casual conversation.
The fire chief couldn’t contain himself. He started screaming at the townsfolk. “What do you think you’re doing? What on earth do you think you’re going to achieve with those waterpistols?!”
The people realised the urgency of the situation. How they wanted to help the fire chief. So they started squirting more. “Come on” they encouraged each other, “We can all do better, can’t we?” Squirt, squirt, squirt, squirt.
Exasperated the fire chief yells again. “Get out of here. Your achieving nothing except hindering us from doing what needs to be done. We need fireman who are ready to give everything they’ve got to put out this fire, people willing even to lay their lives on the line. This is not the place for token contributions”
Source | Story retold from Soren Kierkegaard
Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations
(Orbis, 2004) pages 173-275
See also Tony Campolo, Let me Tell You a Story
(Thomas Nelson, 2000) pages 82-83
Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is urging us to realise that radical discipleship to Christ means much more than mere involvement or token contributions to the mission of the church in the world. Radical and authentic discipleship calls for wholehearted and total life commitment.