Friday, July 10, 2009
Live Tiger Evangelism
I thought that i had blogged this long ago, but i cannot find it.
Years ago a priest recounted this story during a homily at mass at the Cathedral parish here, I cannot recall which Priest for certain. But let me say that my theory of evangelism is based on the saying of St. Francis of Assisi "Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words."
Actually this method of evangelism works to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and also to save a marriage or love someone back to health. It comes from this story.
There was a farmer who felt that he was struggling with his marriage and needed some help. he went on a quest to seek out a wise man that he had heard could make a powerful potion to heal ills of the heart. The wise man lived far away at the top of a mountain. The farmer traveled to the mountain and climbed up to the home of the wise man to seek his advice. Upon explaining his problem to the wise man, the wise man fell into deep thought for a time while the farmer waited. At last the farmer pleaded "can you make me a potion to win back the love of my wife"?
At length the wise man spoke and said "Bring me the whisker of a live tiger and I shall grant your wish". The farmer left discouraged. How could he take the whisker from a tiger, while it was still alive!?
On the way home he had lots of time to think and he formulated a plan. He knew that a Tiger lived in a cave near the top of a hill near his farm. Upon arriving at his home he cut off a nice large steak from the side of beef in his cooling house and went to the foot of the hill.
He placed the steak at the foot of the tiger's hill on a piece of cloth and went home. The next day he went back with another steak. He found the first one gone, not even a bone left behind! He placed a second steak a little ways onto the path up the hill and went home.
The third day he brought another steak and placed it a little further up the hill, advancing only a few feet. He continued for weeks to feed the tiger and advance slowly up the side of the hill toward the tiger's den. After 3 weeks of patient feeding he placed the steak within site of the Tiger's den, in all this time he had not seen the tiger at all.
The next day he came back to see the Tiger watching as he placed the meat a little closer, and he realized that the tiger knew that it was him who had been providing these rich meals. As he advanced closer and closer to the den the tiger became more accustomed to his presence and did not even bother to hide any more but watched impassively.
Finally the day came when he walked boldly up to the front of the Tiger's cave and the Tiger came out and gobbled up the meat as soon as the man walked away. The farmer placed the meat in this location for 5 more days until the Tiger came to him for the meat and took it from his hand. He did this 3 more days and on the 4th day he took a small pair of scissors with him, and as the Tiger ate from his hand he reached down gently and nipped a whisker from the Tiger and the Tiger only crinkled his nose a bit and finished eating.
Triumphantly the farmer took his treasure to the wise man and presented it to him proudly. The wise man remembered him and gazed for a bit at the whisker. Then he asked patiently how the farmer had obtained the whisker. When the farmer recounted his tale in full, the wise man smiled.
"My son" he explained "In this same way that you obtained the whisker from the live Tiger you will win back the love of your wife. Go and use the same patience and generosity with her and win her again!"
"Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words". And to St. Francis advice i would add pray, and trust the Holy Spirit to guide you.