Not A Bad Public

In the classic film A Man for All Seasons a young man asks Sir Thomas More for an honored position.  Sir Thomas tells him to “be a teacher.”  The young man objects.  If he becomes a teacher no one will ever think of him as a great man no matter how good he is in the classroom.  He asks who would know he was a great teacher.  Sir Thomas answered, “You will know. Your pupils, your friends.  God will know.  Not a bad public.”

Emily Dickinson once wrote, “I’m a nobody.  Are you nobody, too?”  For many people it is hard to be nobody.  The quiet life has a multitude of qualities but it does not satisfy the inner hunger to be important.  Each day we are bombarded with the names and faces of the famous.  We see supposed privileges that go with notoriety failing to think of the good things that are sacrificed when the light shines on someone.

For thirty year Jesus worked quietly in his woodworking shop.  Fame and publicity brought an end to His tranquility and filled not only His life with pain but also the lives of those who loved Him.  Ironically His fame came because He did become a teacher.

It is good to remind ourselves that doing a task well brings its own reward.  We will know and God will know and that is not a bad public.

Written by Roger Bothwell on January 30, 2001

Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574