Faith at Work
By Steve Goodier
It's one thing to goof. But it's another thing to do it in front
of a stadium full of people! In their book Oops (The Rutledge
Press, 1981), authors Richard Smith and Edward Decter tell of
such slip-ups. One occurred during a soccer match between two
Brazilian teams. (To protect the player involved, I won't name
the teams.) The first goal was scored within three seconds after
kickoff. What made the score particularly hard for the team's
fans to take was the fact that it was made while their goalie was
still on one knee with head bowed in prayer.
There is certainly a time for prayer, but this poor man learned
the hard way that there is also a time for action. In fact, both
are necessary in a well-lived life. As Gandhi once said, "I have
so much to accomplish today, I will have to meditate two hours
instead of one."
Often, however, the best spirituality begins with the prayer of
the heart, and then moves to that prayer which is lived
throughout the rest of the day.
Several years ago a bomb was detonated outside the huge oak doors
of a Greek Catholic church in Jerusalem. The heavy doors were
blown inward so that they careened up to the front of the
sanctuary and destroyed the chancel area. Windows were blown out,
pews were destroyed, and the balcony collapsed.
Dr. Ken Bailey, a Presbyterian missionary scholar and friend of
the priest of the Greek Church, stopped by to assess the damage.
It took little time to determine that the priest was in shock and
unable to make necessary decisions. So Dr. Bailey took it upon
himself to ask seminary administrators at the school where he
taught to close classes, and he invited students to join him in
helping the priest. They cleaned the church and boarded the
windows to prevent looting.
The next day, Bailey again called on his friend. The maid
confided in him that the priest did not cry at the bomb's
destruction. However, she added, "He did cry when you and your
friends helped clean up the mess it made."
Dr. Bailey has since remarked, "I did not teach any theology that
afternoon - or did I?" If theology is about love in action, he
held one of his best classes that day.
The truth is...faith is never so beautiful as when it has its
working clothes on.
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