“The Log” – A Parable About World Missions

THE LOG By Perry Draper
(Reprinted by permission from HIS, student magazine of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, C. 1963.)

It was a large log, one of the largest I’d seen. Surely some fine lumber would come from this freshly-chopped monument.

This great log was being carried by several men. As the procession drew closer, I could see nine men at the one end. This was no easy task. Their muscles bulged, veins stood out on their foreheads, and sweat poured off their bodies.

Then I was started. As the rest of the log came into view, I saw that the other end was shouldered by only one man. He was staggering under his superhuman task, struggling for all he was worth to hold up his end. It puzzled me that he was alone.

As I pondered this, the nine men called me to help them. They cried out that their burden was heavy and there was still a great distance to go. Here was a place where I could help.

I was getting up from my comfortable spot when I paused to look at the man at the other end of the log. His cry was barely audible between his desperate gasps for breath.

“Not a very impressive looking fellows,” I mused. “He ought to be more persuasive if he really wants help.” But the pleading look on his face, the anguish of his task was enough to reach into any man’s heart. No doubt about it, this man needed help.

As I head toward him, the others shouted still more loudly. “Come and help us!” I look at the nine again. They had a need, no one could deny that.

I might not be able to stand the strain of sharing such a huge load with the one man, but certainly could help the nine. “After all,” I reasoned, “a man has to look after his own welfare.” The cries of the nine grew louder and louder. Finally I joined them.

We plodded on. The path was rough and rocky, but I was happy to be helping with this tremendous task.

Yet, my joy was clouded. Occasionally I could hear a faint call for help from the lonely man behind. Though my back was to him, I could see him in my mind – exhausted, fighting desparately to keep up. Now and then he almost fell, but somehow he kept going.

The ten of us in front encouraged one another. We sang hymns and talked in glowing terms of the reward that soon would be ours. I tried to console myself. I was really helping, and, then too, one must take care of his health.

Finally we reached our goal. With great joy we laid down our heavy burden. The reward was ours.

It was a find reward, no questions about it. A golden crown. But surprisingly, the man from the rear received more than the nine and I put together. He had several crowns – gold, silver, and precious stones.

I saw then that I had done foolishly, but it was too late.

Has God called 94 per cent of the world’s pastors and Christian workers to labor among nine per cent of the population? Jesus said, “Go ye into ALL the world and preach the gospel to EVERY creature.”

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