Coming home on the train one day, I sat in a free seat across from a fit and very well dressed young man. I started chatting with him as is polite here in Holland. This isn’t so unusual, as I’m the outgoing sort of type. Anyway, people tend to relax around me. On asking him what his work was, he cowers from me as if he were about to be beaten up. Now since I’m fifty and female, the chance of that happening is pretty slim. But there you go, cower he did.
Now you see, had he been a surgeon, he’d have told me about his specialty and how he helps people. A librarian would have calmly mentioned that they worked in the town library. Even a bureaucrat has some self respect, and prefers that he should be well thought of and will tell you about what they do. So everyone has something that they can in some way be proud of. And then it struck me. There’s one profession that hasn’t. I took a risk…
Most of us will recognize these as the words the devil used to tempt Jesus. It was the second temptation in the desert, and no doubt Jesus was pretty hungry by that time. The temptation to turn these stones magically into bread must have been overwhelming. Hunger has a powerful effect on human feelings, resisting it no easy matter.
So why was it that Jesus was asked this at all? Why not just tempt him with bread, sauce and a nicely grilled plaice?
The issue is one that is not easy to explain in the world we live in where practically everything you touch has been made by a machine. Is there one thing in the room where you sit that has not been made by a machine? Computers, books, desks, flooring, you name it, it’s all produced by machine. Is there anything that hasn’t been made by a machine? Perhaps the only thing we can point to today is a piece of fruit. Even that will have been handled by machine at some point.
I know of a man – can I call him a friend? Certainly a partner in crime… he did play poker. It’s late in the evening. Tom might only be eighteen, but he’s tough. Slim as a pin and lightning fast. You don’t need strength when they’re already on the floor.