Editor’s Note: On June 12, 2021, Pastor Josh Meyer, Mosaic Leadership Minister, gave the commencement address to the 2021 graduating class of Dock Mennonite Academy (Lansdale, PA). In the address, Meyer shared three stories with the graduates. The stories offered challenges and wisdom to the graduates on how to pursue a meaningful life. The stories are not just for high school graduates, but for us all. Beginning today, and continuing in the coming weeks, we will share one story each week from Meyer’s speech. Take some time to reflect on these short but poignant stories.
There was an ancient Rabbi who was walking home late one night after attending a banquet in a neighboring village. As he traveled, he came to a fork in the road. If he turned right, the road would lead him back to his own village and his own home. If he turned left, the road would lead him to a Roman military outpost. It was dark and late and he ended up making the wrong turn. He went left instead of right. Before long he arrived at the Roman military outpost.
As he approached, he heard a loud voice calling down from above. It was a Roman Century Guard standing on the top of the wall. The guard shouted down, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
The Rabbi stood in confused silence, trying to make sense of the situation. When he gave no answer, the guard asked his questions again, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
The Rabbi took a moment to gather his thoughts, but still gave no answer.
For a third time, with greater volume and greater urgency, the guard repeated, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
This time the Rabbi responded, not with an answer but with a question of his own.
He shouted back into the dark, “How much do you get paid to ask me these questions?”
Now it was the guard who was confused, unsure why this stranger would respond in such a way. Nevertheless, he answered, “Five denarii per week.”
The Rabbi shouted back, with great clarity and conviction, “I’ll pay you twice that amount to stand outside my house every morning and ask me those same two questions!”