Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Who Are You? - Dec 2

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
(Matthew 25:32-33)

I have a very active imagination. Thankfully, this serves me well and I keep out of trouble. So humor me for a little bit. Imagine two people, one is called Michael, the other Johnny. They are at the front of a rather large queue and before them is a man sitting behind a large and imposing wooden desk. It's clear this man is a person of authority and power. Michael, who is ahead of Johnny, steps forward to present himself to the man in charge. The conversation follows:

Man at Desk (MaD): Who are you?

Michael: I'm Michael of course.

MaD: Yes, I'm aware of that. However, I don't have you listed.

Michael: Surely you must! My dossier is sitting right in front of you!

MaD: Yes it is. But I still don't know who you are.

Michael: Have you surely not reviewed it?

MaD: I have indeed. This dossier laying before me contains every single idle word, lustful thought and careless whisper. It contains all the good and bad things about you. Every word ever spoken, every thought that has crossed your mind, every printed word that you've ever written and every deed committed can be found right here. In a way, I know you better than you know yourself. But I still don't know you. Do you understand?

Michael: I'm sorry, I don't follow.

MaD: You see Michael, the world sees what's on the outside. We here have the privilege of seeing what's on the inside. We get the complete picture, warts and all. We know what makes you tick. Upon review, we found that you led a selfish life. We know of your marriage, your business deals and the social circles you attended. Yet the whole thing was lacking because everything you did was based on personal ambition and self-interest. Starting to see the problem?

Michael (Realizing the gravity of the situation): Yes I do.

MaD: Pride and self-sufficiency don't pass muster with us. It really doesn't matter how good you are, rather, it matters more to us the reason why you did it in the first place. Did you encourage and assist others or stand from afar? Even when you did good you did so in order to prove your bona fides to others. Public displays of good works misses the point entirely. It's what's in the heart that ultimately carries weight around here. That's the reason why we don't know you. Please proceed to the left. Next!

(Michael sulks away, ashamed. The man at the desk puts away the old dossier and picks up a new one with Johnny's name on it. He looks up at Johnny and beams.)

MaD: Hello Johnny. I know who you are. Welcome home.

(Johnny, filled with gratitude, weeps tears of joy.)

Johnny: Thank you sir. If it pleases you I'd like to start right away.

MaD: Of course. Follow the line to the right.

There ends the exchange. So which one are you?

Johnny Cash

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