THE MAN WHO ORDERS THREE BEERS

A man walks into a bar and orders three beers. The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone.

An hour later, the man orders three more. This happens yet again. The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town is whispering about the Man Who Orders Three Beers.

Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town. “I don’t mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers.”

“It’s odd, isn’t it?” the man replies. “You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond.”

The bartender and the whole town was pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the town, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.

Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening – he orders only two beers. Word flies around town. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers.

The next day, the bartender says to the man, “Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know – the two beers and all…”

The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, “You’ll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It’s just that I, myself, have decided to quit drinking.”

Source: Unknown. Retold as remembered

CONSIDER THIS

“I gave up beer for lent and the whisky is killing me.”

In the Christian Tradition today marks the beginning of the season of lent, a privileged time to revision and perhaps reimagine your life.  It some ways, it is a season for dropping and embracing: dropping things and habits that are harmful and embracing and reaffirming choices that are life-giving.

What do you need to give up and what might you embrace for a healthier lifestyle?

 

NO TIME FOR TOKEN CONTRIBUTIONS

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

CONSIDER THIS

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.