A Man Called Otto

Otto is unhappy. And he doesn’t like other people. He is tired of life and has had enough. However, other people keep invading his space, and though at first he is brusk and rude, he keeps on helping them. When his new neighbour asks him to teach her to drive he outright refuses. Then not long after appears ta her door with his car keys. He’s going to show her how to drive properly. Otto is unlikeable and short with everybody, and yet… he has a gift for fixing things and it keeps on nudging him to get involved. And in doing so he lets people come closer, and as they come closer it gets harder for him to keep his heart brittle and closed.
Jesus tells a story about two sons and a father. The father asks son number one to help him.  To come out and work in the vineyard. The son says a big grumpy no. So he asks son number two to help him. The son says a big smiley yes. Time goes by, and the first son thinks, ‘Maybe I will help out…’ and the next thing you know he’s out there in the sun working away. On his own there. No sign of son number two. Remember him? The one who said a big bright yes. Hmm. Nowhere to be seen. Jesus then asks a question, he’s always asking questions, he wants us to work things out for ourselves. Which son did what his father wanted? I’ll leave you to answer it.
Otto reminds me of one of those sons. Initially reluctant and gruff. And yet… it’s not what he says that makes a difference, it’s what he does. I always find this story really challenging. What’s that old saying? Actions speak louder than…?
I also find it extremely heartening and encouraging that, as reluctant and grumpy as I can often be, there is always the chance to change my mind and do the right thing, Jesus is in the business of second and third and fourth and fifth chances.

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