Not so long ago I was in a taxi.
The fellow asked me where I was I going and what brought me there. I told him what I did for a living.
He remarked, “So, you guys only work one day a week, preaching on Sunday, where do I get a job like that!?” He boomed out a loud laugh.
He then asked, “what else is there apart from preaching?”
I replied: “among other things I make friends with people”.
“Ahh,” he said, so you try and convert them?”
I thought to myself, this guy is serious, he isn’t just provoking me for fun. So I asked, “can I tell you a story?”
A few years ago I was in the front bar of a hotel and an elderly man asked what brought me there, I told him that I was a pastor in the Uniting Church, he replied “I’m an Atheist”.
I replied, “that’s an interesting comment why did tell me that?”
“Well, I don’t want someone to rattle on about religion,” he said.
Once we got over that hurdle we engaged in some really good discussion.
Over time we continued to meet, then one day he said, “Well Padre, I know I am not getting any younger and since we have struck up this friendship, I would like you to do my funeral when I die, you know, say a few words.”
So back in the taxi. The driver said “well, you got through to him that there is a God, aye?”
“I don’t know about that but what I do know is that I learnt a word from old Greek fellow many years ago and I continue to use it, the word is Philotimo.”
With that, a great big smile came across his face.
It is said, that to display Philotimo, is to display unconditional love and respect, to family, friends and others in social living.
Hmm, unconditional love, I like that, I reckon Jesus was all about that too.
Pastor Gary Ferguson
Ceduna Uniting Church