A man walked into a small-town antique shop and couldn’t help but notice a lifelike bronze statue of a rat. He asked the shop owner the price.
“The rat is $20,” the shop owner said. “But the story that goes with it is $100.”
The man handed over $20, telling the shop owner he could keep the story.
As he walked down the street with the bronze rat, the man noticed that real rats were coming out of the alleys and sewers and following him. Before long, he had hundreds of squealing rats trailing along behind.
The scene was unnerving to say the least. The man began to run toward a bridge over the river. The rats kept pace.
Frightened, he threw the bronze rat as far as he could into the river. Amazingly, all the rats jumped in, too.
The man then walked back to the antique shop.
“I see you came back for the story,” the shop owner said.
“No,” replied the man. “I came back to see if you have a bronze statue of a lawyer.”
Well, lawyers certainly are the focus of lots of jokes. And they handle it well. Most of the lawyer jokes I hear are told by lawyers. I suppose it’s important that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Jesus drove that point home during his earthly ministry when his disciples came to Him to ask who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus called a child over and said: “Verily, I say to you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).
I doubt that’s the answer the disciples expected. They probably would have thought a full-grown man, strong and tall and bold, to be the greatest. Instead, Jesus sees the greatest person as the humble believer who understands his dependency on his Heavenly Father for everything, just as a child is dependent on his earthly father for everything.
Whether we’re lawyers or doctors or construction workers or coal miners or a person of any other profession, we all must put our entire dependence on Jesus if we are to have the hope of Heaven.
Otherwise, we’re kind of like those rats, racing along aimlessly on our way to destruction.
Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.