Once a church had fallen upon hard times. Only five members were left: the
pastor and four others, all over 60 years old.
In the mountains near the church there lived a retired Bishop. It occurred
to the pastor to ask the Bishop if he
could offer any advice that might save the church. The pastor and the
Bishop spoke at length, but when asked for
advice, the Bishop simply responded by saying, "I have no advice to give.
The only thing I can tell you is that the
Messiah is one of you."
The pastor, returning to the church, told the church members what the
Bishop had said. In the months that
followed, the old church members pondered the words of the Bishop. "The
Messiah is one of us?" they each
asked themselves. As they thought about this possibility, they all began to
treat each other with extraordinary
respect on the off chance that that one among them might be the Messiah.
And on the off, off chance that each
member himself might be the Messiah, they also began to treat themselves
with extraordinary care.
As time went by, people visiting the church noticed the aura of respect and
gentle kindness that surrounded the
five old members of the small church. Hardly knowing why, more people began
to come back to the church. They
began to bring their friends, and their friends brought more friends.
Within a few years, the small church had once
again become a thriving church, thanks to the Bishop's gift.