Have you read the parable in Luke 16 yet? It is a very strange one indeed! It has puzzled Bible scholars for multiple generations. It sounds like Jesus is urging His followers to be shady, to cut corners, to act like a band of criminals–which obviously He is not meaning. Verse 8 gives rich meaning and a challenge to those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ. Is that you? Have you welcomed Him into your heart and mind and life? If not, then do so even right now with a simple prayer of faith and acceptance of Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If you have already believed in Him, then this parable is saying that people outside the faith can, and often are, more committed to their work or plans or ambitions than God’s people are to His Kingdom and His plans. This parable corners me with Jesus asking point blank–‘do you really want all of Me in all of your life?’ What if He put it to you the same way? Your answer? You’re probably wondering about the title for this submission–‘learning from a great actor’. Well, let me explain. My wife and I have always enjoyed watching the Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie on PBS television here in the States starring the wonderful English method-actor David Suchet. He has now starred in each of Miss Christie’s Poirot stories and will no longer be filming the role of the great Belgian detective. Recently we watched a show about the making of the series and why it’s been so enduring. What grabbed my attention was David Suchet’s absolute commitment to not just acting as Poirot but actually more like being him. Suchet read every Poirot mystery. He noted over 90 idiosyncrasies of the man with those potent ‘little gray cells’! He lived the part. He noted every detail that the author wrote. He became Hercule Poirot as best a great method-actor can be. And here is where Jesus’ parable convicted me. The actor became the character. What about the time I spend in the Author’s work? The time in the Bible? Is it just to check off the reading list-for-the-day to get on to more fun things? To pray on the run if time or weather permits? Do I write down little things I note about God or His Son so that I can be more like Him? And do I do it for the long-haul, committing my life and fortunes and family and really everything I am and have– to His Lordship? “For the people of the world are more shrewd in dealing with their kind than are the people of light”, Jesus said (Luke 16: 8). I know nothing personal about the man David Suchet, but I do know his commitment as a great actor has challenged me to be deeply consider my own relationship with Jesus Christ– to stop acting a part and to be more like Him. You too? Pick up an old hymnal and start singing fellow New Jerseyan Thomas Chisholm’s beautiful hymn, ‘O To Be Like Thee’–O to be like Thee, Blessed Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer; gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear…’ Couldn’t have said it better!

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