During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government began to run low on silver for coins. Lord Cromwell sent his men to the local cathedral to see if they could find any precious metal there. After investigating they reported: "The only silver we can find is in the statues of the saints standing in the corners."
To which the radical soldier and statesman of England replied: "Good! We'll melt down the saints and put them in circulation!"
That 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. Where life transpires in the raw.
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 houseful of kids, where R&R means run and wrestle. In the concrete battlegrounds of sales competition, seasonal conventions, and sexual temptations, where hard-core 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 in circulation." "Sunday religion" may seem sufficient, but it isn't. And pity the person who counts on it to get him through.
Sure, you can opt for an easier path. You can keep your own record and come out smelling like a rose:
• Dressed up and drove to church. Check
• Got a seat and sat quietly. Check
• Gave money...listened to the sermon. Check
• Closed my Bible, prayed, looked pious. Check
• Shook hands, walked out. Check
Still a saint? A silver one, in fact. Icily regular, cool and casual, consistently present...and safely out of circulation...until the Lord calls for an investigation of the local cathedral.
Those who successfully wage war with silent heroism under relentless secular pressure—ah, they are the saints who know what it means to be melted.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.