Madame Chiang Kai-shek once told the story of a young Buddhist monk who sat outside his
temple two thousand years ago, hands clasped in prayer. He looked very pious and he
chanted 'Amita Buddha' all day. Day after day he intoned these words, believing that he
was acquiring grace. One day the head priest of the temple sat next to him and began
rubbing a piece of brick against a stone. Day after day he rubbed one against the other.
This went on week after week until the young monk could no longer contain his curiosity,
and he finally blurted out, "Father, what are you doing?" "I'm trying to
make a mirror," said the head priest. "But that's impossible!" said the
young monk. "You can't make a mirror from brick." "True," replied the
head priest. "And it is just as impossible for you to acquire grace by doing nothing
except chant 'Amita Buddha' all day long."
Bits & Pieces, April 1990, p. 12.
Our life in Christ can be compared to an aqueduct, the stone waterways that brought
water from nearby mountains into parched cities in Italy and Spain, and that are still
used in some countries today. The objective foundation of our spiritual lives, the Word of
God, is like the huge stone aqueduct itself. The subjective elements, our daily experience
of Christ, is like the fresh water flowing through it.
Some Christians neglect the Word and seek only the subjective experience. But without
the solid Word of God to contain and channel that experience, the experience itself drains
away into error and is lost.
Other Christians boast well-engineered aqueducts based on extensive knowledge of the
Bible, but they are bone dry. They bring no refreshment. Strong spiritual lives require
both a strong knowledge of the Word of God and an intimate daily relationship with Christ.
John H. Morgan.
Commentary and Devotional
Both in history and in life it is a phenomenon by no means rare to meet with
comparatively unlettered people who seem to have struck profound spiritual depths while
there are many highly educated people whom one feels are performing clever antics with
their minds to cover a gaping hollowness that lies within.