Anthony de Mello
A gambler once said to the Master, "I was caught cheating at cards yesterday, so my partners beat me up and threw me out of the window. What would you advise me to do?" The Master looked straight through the man and said, "If I were you from now on I would play on the ground floor." This startled the disciples. "Why didn't you tell him to stop gambling?" they demanded. "Because I knew he wouldn't," was the Master's simple and sagacious explanation.
The Day Bart Simpson Prayed
Lee Strobel, What would Jesus Say
Bart wasn't doing well in the fourth grade. When he flunked his book report on Treasure Island because he only knew what was on the cover, that was the last straw. His teacher called a meeting with Bart's parents and the school psychiatrist, whose conclusion was that Bart repeat the fourth grade.
Bart was horrified! "Look at my eyes, he said. "See the sincerity? See the conviction? See the fear? I swear, I'll do better!" After all, nothing's worse to a ten year old than being held back in school.
But Bart hatched a plan. He made a deal with brainy student name Martin. He'd teach Martin how to be cool if Martin will help him pass his next American History exam. That final test was monumentally important because if he passed it, Bart would be allowed to graduate.
Bart did teach Martin the fine points of being cool- how to burp on command, how to spray paint graffiti on garage doors, how to shoot a slingshot at unsuspecting girls. And sure enough, Martin became the most popular kid in school- so popular, in fact, that he didn't have time to help Bart study.
Now picture this: It was the night before the big test. Bart was sitting at the desk of his room, staring at an open book, trying to study, when he came to the chilling realization that it was too late. He couldn't cram enough into his head in one night to be able to pass the test. Finally, his mom peeked into the room and said, "Its past your bedtime, Bart."
Slowly, Bart closed his book. With the exams hours away, it seemed like all of his options had evaporated. That's when he got down on his knees next to his bed and prayed to God.
"This is hopeless!" he said. "Well, Old Timer, I guess this is the end of the road. I know I havent been a good kid, but if I have to go to school tomorrow, I'll fail the test and be held back. I just need one more day to study. Lord, I need your help! A teacher strike, a power failure, a blizzard- anything that will cancel school tomorrow. I know it's asking a lot, but if anyone can do it, you can. Thanking you in advance, your pal, Bart Simpson."
The scene switched to an outside view of Bart's house. The lights in his room went out. It was cold and dark. A few moments passed, and then a single snowflake gently fell to the ground. Then another. And another. Suddenly, there was a virtual avalanche of snow; in fact, it was the biggest blizzard in the city's history! The "Hallelujah Chorus" swelled in the background.
The next day, school was cancelled. Bart fought the temptation to go sledding with his friends, and instead studied hard. Then the following day, when the time finally came for the test, he gave it his best shot, but he came up one point short. It looked like he had failed- until at the last possible moment, he miraculously scored one more point and squeaked by with a D minus.
Bart was s happy that he kissed his teacher as he scampered out the door. Homer was so overwhelmed that he posted Bart's paper on the refrigerator and said, "I'm proud of you, boy."
To which Bart replied, "Thanks, Dad. But part of this D minus belongs to God."
What's it like in your town?
Once there was an old and very wise man. Everyday he would sit outside a gas station in his rocking chair and wait to greet motorists as they passed through his small town. On this day his granddaughter knelt down at the foot of his chair and slowly passed the time with him.