Nasrudin, a wise yet sometimes foolish man, was invited by village elders to speak in their village mosque for three consecutive weeks. Nasrudin, who knew he had many wise ideas in his head, had foolishly neglected to prepare a sermon. That first morning, he stood at the door of the mosque, puffed out his chest and decided to wing it. He turned to the people and asked, “My beloved, who amongst you knows that of which I speak?” and the people looked down and said, “We are poor simple people. We do not know that of which you speak.” He then threw his robe across one shoulder and pronounced, “Well, then there is no need of me here” and marched right out the door.

The people were curious and the next week when Nasrudin was to speak even more gathered. Again, Nasrudin had not bothered to prepare his thoughts. He strode to the front and turned to the people and asked, “My beloved, who amongst you knows that of which I speak?” and this time the people stood up and said, “We do! We know that of which you speak!” Old Nasrudin didn’t miss a beat. He threw his robe across his shoulder and said, “Well, then there is no need of me here.” and marched out the door.

On the morning of the third week, Nasrudin stood no more prepared than that first day. He confidently walked to the front and turned to the people and asked once more, “My beloved, who among you knows that of which I speak?” This time they had a plan! Half of the people said, “We are poor simple people. We do not know that of which you speak.” and the other half stood up and said, “We do! We know that of which you speak!” Old Nasrudin stood for a moment and said, “Then if those of you who know would tell those who don’t, there is no need of me here.” With that, he threw his robe across his shoulder and left the building.

Source: Annette Simmons and Doug Lipman
The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling
(Basic Books; 2nd edition (April 4, 2006) pages 49-50


Here’s a shorter version of the same story

Mulla Nasrudin preached on Fridays at the village mosque. One day, having nothing to preach about, he asked the congregation:

“Do you know the subject I am going to discuss today?”

“No” said the people.

“Then I refuse to preach to such an ignorant assembly. How could you not know given the events of the past week?” asked Nasrudin and left hurriedly.

Next Friday he went up the pulpit and asked: “Do you know the subject of my sermon today?”

People fearing a repetition of what had taken place a week before nodded and said: “Yes yes, indeed we know.”

“Well, then. There is no point in telling you what you already know”, said Nasrudin and left.

On the third Friday he ascended the pulpit and asked: “Do you know what I am going to speak about today?”

Not knowing what to say, some said yes and some said no.

“Then those who know can tell those who don’t”, said Nasrudin and left.

Source: wikibooks.org


This is a wise and foolish man – he looks foolish but he is very wise in his foolishness; he looks very wise but he is behaving like a fool.

Wisdom and foolishness are together in life; if you dissect them then wisdom will be separate and foolishness will be separate, but both will be dead. The greatest art of life is to let them grow together in such a balance that your wisdom carries a certain quality of foolishness, and your foolishness carries a certain quality of wisdom. Then you are total. Then you are whole.



One semester, a seminary professor set up his preaching class in an unusual way. He scheduled his students to preach on the Parable of the Good Samaritan and on the day of the class, he choreographed his experiment so that each student would go, one at a time, from one classroom to another where he or she would preach a sermon. The professor gave some students ten minutes to go from one room to the other; to others he allowed less time, forcing them to rush in order to meet the schedule. Each student, one at a time, had to walk down a certain corridor and pass by a bum, who was deliberately planted there, obviously in need of some sort of aid.

The results were surprising, and offered a powerful lesson to them. The percentage of those good men and women who stopped to help was extremely low, especially for those who were under the pressure of a shorter time period. The tighter the schedule, the fewer were those who stopped to help the indigent man. When the professor revealed his experiment, you can imagine the impact on that class of future spiritual leaders. Rushing to preach a sermon on the Good Samaritan they had walked past the beggar at the heart of the parable.

Source:  Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat
Alice Gray (compiler), Stories for the Heart
(Multnomah Books,1996) page 93-94


We must have eyes to see as well as hands to help, or we may never help at all. I think this well known anonymous poem expresses it powerfully:

I was hungry and you formed a humanities club
to discuss my hunger.
Thank you.

I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly
to your chapel to pray for my release.

I was naked and in your mind you debated the
morality of my appearance.
What good did that do?

I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for
your health.
But I needed you.

I was homeless and you preached to me of the
shelter of the love of God.
I wish you’d taken me home.

I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.
Why didn’t you stay?

You seem so holy, so close to God; but I’m still
very hungry, lonely, cold, and still in pain.



A circuit-riding pastor was galloping down a road to get to church on time. Suddenly his horse stumbled and pitched him to the ground. In the dirt with a broken leg, the pastor called out, “All you saints in heaven, help me get up on my horse!”

Then with superhuman effort, he leaped onto the horse’s back and fell off the other side. Once again, he called to heaven, “All right, just half of you this time.”

Source | David M. Varner, Sunday Funnies to Tickle the Soul
(Xulon Press, 2010) page 44



Would you consider the pastor a faithful person, well-seasoned in the art of prayer? After all, here’s a guy who in the middle of great adversity doesn’t fade, but with confidence calls out. And keeps calling out … with a sense of humour!

Imagine you found yourself in the same situation, what would you have done?


There lived once a husband and wife both of whom were doctors. He was a doctor of theology and she was a doctor of medicine. They had just moved to a new house and  hired a young and witty new housekeeper who doubled as a cook.

One morning the doorbell rang and the housekeeper promptly answered the door. The visitor asked for “the doctor”.

And without missing a beat the housekeeper said, “Do you want the one who preaches or the one who practices?”

Source | Unknown


Your actions speak so loud, I cannot hear what you’re saying.


Several years ago, a young priest, fresh out of the seminary, was assigned as pastor to as small parish, in a small town. Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the local bus from the rectory to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “You’d better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.” Then he thought, “Oh, forget it, it’s only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a ‘gift from God’ and keep quiet.”

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change.”

The driver, with a smile, replied, “Aren’t you the new pastor in town?”

“Yes”, he replied.

“Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about returning to church.  I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I’ll see you at church on Sunday.”

When the young priest stepped off of the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, “Oh my God, I almost sold Jesus for twenty-five cents!”

Source | Unknown


Our lives are the only scriptures some people will ever read.  For many, we are the only edition of the Bible.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits..
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.