Via Paul Levy at Reformation 21 (from an article in something called The Rutherford Journal)
Read this to my pastoral colleagues in Mount Gambier this morning. It rang true to their hearts and to mine.
Fling him into his room, then tear the “Office” sign from the door,
and nail on the sign, “Study.”
Take him off the mailing list.
Lock him up with his books, his computer and his Bible.
Slam him down on his knees before scripture, before broken hearts,
before the lives of a superficial flock and before a Holy God.
Force him to be the one man in the community who knows God.
Throw him into the ring to box with God
until he learns just how short his arms are.
Engage him to wrestle with God all night through,
and let him come out only
when he’s bruised and beaten into being a blessing.
Shut his mouth forever spouting pointless remarks.
Stop his tongue from forever tripping lightly over every non-essential.
Require him to have something to say before he breaks the silence
and bend his knees in the lonesome valley of prayer.
Burn his eyes with weary study.
Wrack his emotional poise with worry for God.
Make him exchange his pious stance
for a humble walk with God and his people.
Make him spend and be spent for the glory of God.
Rip out his telephone. Burn up his files, put water in his petrol tank.
Give him a Bible and tie him to the pulpit
and make him preach the Word of the living God.
Test him, quiz him, examine him, humiliate him
for his ignorance of things divine.
Shame him for his good comprehension of fine answers,
sports scores and politics.
Laugh at his frustrated effort to play psychiatrist.
Form a choir, raise a chant and haunt him night and day with,
“We would see Jesus.”
When at last he does come to speak,
ask him if he has a word from God.
– If he does not, dismiss him!
Tell him you can read the morning paper,
you can digest the television commentary,
you can think through the day’s superficial problems,
you can manage the community drives,
you can bless the assorted baked potatoes and green beans
– better than he can.
Command him not to come back until he’s read and re-read,
written and re-written,
until he can stand up worn and forlorn and say,
‘Yes, thus saith the Lord’.
Break him across the board of his ill gotten popularity;
smack him hard with his own prestige;
corner him with questions about God;
cover him with demands for celestial wisdom;
give him no escape, until he’s back against the wall of the Word,
and then sit down before him and listen to the only word he has left:
the Word of God.
Let him be totally ignorant of the down the street gossip,
but give him a chapter and order him to walk around it,
camp on it, sup with it
and come at last to speak it backwards and forwards
until all he says about it rings with the truth of eternity.
And when he’s burned out by the flaming Word,
when he’s consumed at last by the fiery grace blazing through him,
when he’s privileged to translate the truth of God to us,
and is finally transferred from earth to heaven,
then bear him away gently, and blow a muted trumpet
and lay him down softly.
Place a two-edged Sword on his coffin,
and raise the tomb triumphant
for he was a brave soldier of the Word;
and ‘ere he died,
he had become a
Man of God.
Anonymous. Rutherford Journal – winter 1997