TAKING THE BULLET
What? know ye not that... ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price.
"You are entirely welcome Mr Busybody. And I appreciate your taking the time to visit me in my humble church."
"And thank you again Pastor Danke. Pastor Danke I understand you have recently written a book called Taking the Bullet, and that your book has not only received rave reviews from the critics, but has brought you great wealth adding to your already abundant fortune that you have earned preaching the Gospel. Could you tell us a little about your book and what led you to write such a book?"
"I would be most pleased to oblige Mr Busybody. My book is a highly Christianized tome written in such a way as to be well received and understood by the secular world. Taking the Bullet is in reference to Jesus dying on the cross as a replacement for the debt we owe to God. But few people realize just what this sacrifice means. Not even many Christians understand this concept to its fullest. And those Christians who do understand are not very inclined to live up to all it entails. Have I lost you yet Mr Busybody?"
"Not yet Pastor Danke. But I'm still in the dark as to why you named your book as you have, and how it applies to Jesus on the cross. I didn't know they had gun powder in the first century AD."
"Taking the bullet is merely a metaphor for suffering a penalty that someone else deserves. It is based on the Chinese concept of there being a responsibility involved when we save a person's life, or if someone saves our life. I have combined the Christian concept of this process with the Chinese philosophy in hopes of making the point as clear as possible to everyone."
"I must say Pastor Danke that such a concept is indeed a unique and an effective one. And I assume Pastor Danke that you are, besides being a very religious man, a highly appreciative one besides. Am I correct in my evaluation Pastor Danke?"
"Indeed you are Mr Busybody. And thank you for noticing this quality in me. I believe that appreciation, even for the small things, is one of the most important characteristics any of us can possess. It is imperative that each of us dig down deep in our heart and become just as appreciative as possible. Don't you find this to be so Mr Busybody?"
"I certainly cannot deny what you have said Pastor Danke. Appreciation is indeed a very important quality to have, and one, I'm afraid, not often exhibited. For our listening audience who might not be fully aware of the usage of the word, could you give us a definition of the word appreciation."
"I must confess that few people possess appreciation Mr Busybody. And I find that even fewer people actually understand the word to its fullest. We tend to think of the barest minimum of the word, and this is what we teach our children from birth. We teach that appreciation is exhibited when we verbally say thank you, or when we give a quick blessing before we consume a meal. This is merely an intellectual exercise however, and it is far from approaching the true meaning of the word appreciation. When we appreciate, we greatly value something or someone. The more we value a person, the more we want to do for that person and the more we want to please that person. Appreciation also has the connotation of being the opposite of depreciation. For instance, when something is depreciated, like a new car once it's driven off the car lot, it loses value. In the same way if we look down on someone, or take them for granted, we depreciate them. We devalue them. On the other hand, when we prize something or someone, we add to their value, that is, we appreciate them. Have I explained my meaning clearly enough Mr Busybody?"
"Indeed you have Pastor Danke. And I can see that you are truly a man who knows how to appreciate. It must be refreshing for your congregation to have you instruct them on such subjects as appreciation. Such a clear understanding you have of the subject. Oh, and what have we here? I see a man of apparent meager means approaching us. Perhaps he's a panhandler attempting to acquire some money for a meal. I have a few dollars here in my pocket I can spare."
"Hello Pastor Danke. I'm sorry to bother you this way. But I was wondering if you might be able to spare a moment of your time where we can talk about a problem I'm having. As you know I lost all my wealth paying for that hospital bill three years ago, and because of losing my leg from gangrene brought about by complications I acquired during the rescue I have been unable to find work. I won't take long Pastor Danke. I'm not looking for much, just a little concern and a little appreciation."
"Listen Joe, why don't you go away and leave me alone. I've already said thank you. I called you a couple times when you were in the hospital. What else do you want from me? Blood? Just go away and stop bugging me. And here, take this book I just wrote. It'll tell you all about appreciation and what's to be done when a life is saved. You don't have to thank me Joe, just go away."
"Thank you for the book Pastor Danke. I appreciate it. But my name is Joshua. I'll go away Pastor Danke. And thank you for your time."
"Now that was an interesting dialogue Pastor Danke. I take it you know this poor beggar. Am I to assume you did something for him in the past for which he has failed to demonstrate his appreciation?"
"He has indeed misunderstood the concept of appreciation, and what is required when one saves another's life Mr Busybody. That is why I gave him my book in hopes that it will help him to better understand the concept of appreciation."
"You said earlier Pastor Danke that you've taken your concept of saving one's life from the Chines proverb where one who has his life saved by another becomes the servant of that person for the rest of his or here life. Is that what you're hoping the man will learn? And do I assume correctly that you saved his life at some time past?"
"I'm afraid you misunderstand the Chinese concept of saving one's life Mr Busybody. When someone saves your life, that person becomes responsible for the one who's life they saved, and that forever. Three years ago I lost everything I owned. I was suicidal and jumped into the river. Joe, the guy who was just here, jumped in and saved me. He was rich at the time, but he lost everything because of doctor bills incurred from the injuries he encountered in the rescue. That was three years ago, and every year he comes around and bugs me like he did today. Nag, nag, nag. I said thank you. What else does he want? Sheesh. Out of the kindness of my heart I don't even hold him to his responsibility to take care of me forever. But does he appreciate my great sacrifice and kindness? No.. Some people, they just have no sense of appreciation at all. Sheesh!"
44Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. (Mat 13:)
26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (Luke 14:)
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Tim 4:)