‘So I send you’
I n his book Your Other Vocation, Dr. Elton Trueblood voices the opinion that the great need of our day is for the church to realize and take seriously the notion that every member, man or woman, is a minister of Jesus Christ.
One of our poets has put it in these words: “Christ has no hands but our hands to do his work today; He has no feet but our feet to lead men in his way.” But our being able to do God’s work is something we often find hard to comprehend and believe.
The Man Who Played God is the story of a great pianist who while on a concert tour was involved in a terrible accident that destroyed his hearing.
His career at an end, in despair he moved to New York and secluded himself on the 10th floor of a fashionable Park Avenue apartment complex. There over time he became very bitter, blaming God for what had happened, even contemplating suicide.
He was persuaded by a friend to take up lip-reading and became very proficient at it. But his zest for living was gone. He was a very cynical young man.
One fall day, standing at his window, he noticed the autumn leaves in the park below and picked up his binoculars for a closer look. Gazing upon the red and gold panorama, his heart was stirred.
Just then his glasses picked up a young couple that seemed greatly disturbed. Gradually he gleaned the story. With their wedding a week away, the young man had learned that he had tuberculosis and must have medical treatment. It would cost a thousand dollars and they had nothing.
The man watched as they talked and then as they prayed together for God’s help. He smiled derisively at their faith that God would help. But then he thought, “I have plenty of money; I will do it myself.”
Calling his valet, he sent him with the money to the couple in the park below. Then he watched through his binoculars. “Where did it come from? Who sent it?” the couple wanted to know. “Let’s just say that God sent it,” the valet answered.
It was the beginning of a new life for the great pianist. Many hours were spent reading the lips of people in the park below, learning their needs and answering their prayers. And a wonderful thing happened in his life. The cynicism, hardness and doubt gave way to faith, hope and love.
Today, Christ is speaking to each of us: “As the Father has sent me, so send I you.” And who knows how much depends upon the response we decide to make!
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.