Which One of You?

Abingdon will soon publish a book of stories, collected from decades of yarn-spinning. They’re calling it Stories by Willimon. Here’s an example, named “Which One of You?”


A farmer goes forth to sow, carefully, meticulously preparing the ground, removing rocks and weeds, sowing one seed six inches from another…

No! This farmer goes out and begins slinging seed.

A dragnet full of sea creatures is hauled into the boat. Sort the catch, separating the good from the bad? No. The Master is more impressed by the size of the haul than by the quality of the catch. One day, not today, it shall be sorted.

A field is planted with good seed. But when the seed germinates, the field is full of weeds growing alongside the wheat.

“An enemy has done this!” cries the farmer. Enemy, my foot. You get an agricultural mess when your idea of sowing is to so carelessly sling seed.

Should we cull the wheat from the weeds? “No, good plants or bad, I just love to see things grow,” says the casual farmer.

Someday the Master will judge good from bad, weeds from wheat, sort out the righteous from the unrighteous, but not today.

So, here’s a farmer and a fisherman who are more into heedless sowing, miraculous growing, and reckless harvesting than in taxonomy of the good and the bad, the worthwhile from the worthless, the saved from the damned.

Which one of you, having lost one sheep will not abandon the ninety-nine sheep (who lack the creativity to roam), leaving them to fend for themselves in the wilderness, and beat the bushes until you find the one lost sheep? Which one of you will not put that sheep on your shoulders like a child and say to your friends, “Come party with me. I found my sheep!”?

To which your friends would say, “Congratulations. You just lost most of your flock who wandered away while you were fixated on finding the one who wandered.”

Which one of you would not do that?

Which of you women, if you lose a quarter, will not rip up the carpet and strip the house bare of heavy appliances, and when you have found your lost coin, run into the street and call to your neighbors, “Come party with me. I found my quarter!”?

Which one of you would not do that?

And which of you fathers, having two sons, the younger of whom leaves home, blows all your hard earned money on booze and bad women, then comes dragging back home in rags, will not throw the biggest bash this town has ever seen, shouting, “This son of mine was dead but is now alive!”?

Which one of you dads would not do that?

And which of you, journeying down the Jericho Road, upon seeing a perfect stranger lying in the ditch half dead, bleeding, would not risk your life, put the injured man on the leather seats of your Jaguar, take him to the hospital, max out your credit cards paying for his recovery, and more?

Which of you travelers would not do that?

None of us would behave so unseemly, recklessly, and extravagantly. These are not stories about us.

You can buy your copy here. This excerpt is taken from the 2008 book Who Will Be Saved?, one of my favorites of Will’s.

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