The Pastor

There was once a pastor in a small European village. He was greatly loved by the people, and they believed he had a singularly close relationship with God. He disappeared every Friday and could not be found for several hours. The villagers boasted that during those hours he ascended to heaven and talked with God.

A newcomer to the village was a sceptic who derided the faith of its simple people. Increasingly irritated by claims about the minister, he determined to find out where he spent Fridays. So he hid near the pastor's house. He watched as he rose early, spent time in prayer, and left his house in the clothes of a peasant.

The young sceptic followed the old saint from a safe distance. He watched him fell a tree and cut a great stack of firewood. He continued to watch as he made his way to a shack in the poorest part of the village and stacked the wood. It was the home of an old woman and her sick husband. After leaving the vulnerable couple enough wood to last them a week, the pastor quietly returned to his own home.

The villagers were startled the next Sunday when the young newcomer was in church. Indeed, he became a believer shortly thereafter. He then became a disciple of the church's godly minister and upon his death his successor. For the rest of his own life, whenever he heard one of the villagers speak of his predecessor and say, "On Fridays he would ascend to heaven," he would add softly, "If not higher."

Rubel Shelly The FAX of Life

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