During his rule over England, owing partly to the cost of the war, the government began to run precariously low on precious metals, particularly for use in common coinage. Lord Cromwell, as he was known, sent his ministers throughout the length and breadth of the land to see if they could find any bullion anywhere. After investigating, they reported that the only silver they could find was in the statues of the saints standing in all of the churches.
Ever the radical, Lord Cromwell is purported to have replied: "Very well, then. Melt down those saints and put them into circulation!"
This brief story has been recounted in numerous publications and web sites down through the years. Little wonder, as it so perfectly encapsulates the crucial task of Christians the world over. For while it is commendable that Christians everywhere frequent the sanctuaries of their local churches, it is far more critical to the success of Christianity’s essential mission that these same saints get out of their sanctuaries and into their world.
As one insightful writer has put it…
(Cromwell’s) brief but direct order states the essence of the practical goal of authentic Christianity: not rows of silver saints crammed into the corners of cathedrals, but melted saints circulating through the mainstream of humanity. On campuses, where students carve through the varnish of shallow answers. In the shop, where employees test the mettle of everyday Christianity.
At home, with a house full of kids, where R&R means run and wrestle. In the concrete battlegrounds of sales competition, seasonal conventions, and sexual temptations, where hardcore assaults are made on internal character. On the hospital bed, where reality never takes a nap. In the office, where diligence and honesty are forever on the scaffold. On the team, where patience and self-control are checked out.
The cost factor of being a saint occurs on Monday and Tuesday and throughout the week. That's when we're melted down and put into circulation. Sunday religion may seem sufficient, but it isn't. And pity the person who counts on it to get him through.*
Using a similar analogy, Jesus also stressed the importance of His followers getting out into the world where they can do the most good. In his famed “Sermon on the Mount” in the Gospel of Matthew (5:14-16), He said…
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
In light of this, fellow believers, let’s all get out and circulate a bit. Invariably, both we and our world will be better off if we do.
*SOURCE: Dallas Seminary's Daily Devotional, 05-30-2006, as quoted at: http://www.housetohouse.com/HTHPubPage.aspx?cid=3383.