Francis Dorff wrote a wonderful story called The Rabbis Gift. He tells of the monastery that has fallen on hard times. The only time there were any signs of spiritual life came about when the Rabbi walked in the woods. The monks beg him for a teaching.
Finally, the rabbi said, ‘You seek a teaching from me and I have one for you. It is a teaching which I will say to you and then I will never repeat. When you share this teaching with the monks, you are to say it once and then never to repeat it. The teaching is this. Listen carefully. “The Messiah is among you.”
When the Abbot heard that teaching, he thanked the rabbi. He went back to the monastery to gather the monks and to tell them the Rabbi’s teaching. He told him, as he was instructed, that he would say the teaching once, and then they were to talk about it no more. “Listen carefully,” he said. “The teaching is this: One of us is the Messiah.” It wasn’t exactly what the Rabbi had said, but they began to look at one another in a whole new light. Is Brother John the messiah? Or Father James? Am I the messiah?
In the days to come, as they went about their prayer life and their work and their study of scripture, they began to treat one another in a whole new light. Each one of them might be the messiah, and this new treatment of one another, this new sense of expectation, was noted by the few pilgrims who came. And soon the word spread. What a spirit of concern and compassion and expectation can be felt at the monastery!
Young people began to offer themselves in service. Pilgrims began to come in great number, all because they looked at each other as people of worth.
What a great attitude! What if we started thinking this way?