A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of beer and a ham sandwich. The barman looks at him and says, “Hang on! You’re a duck.”
 “I see your eyes are working,” replies the duck.   “And you can talk!” exclaims the barman.
 “I see your ears are working, too,” says the duck. “Now if you don’t mind, can I have my beer and my sandwich please?”
 “Certainly, sorry about that,” says the barman as he pulls the duck’s pint. “It’s just we don’t get many ducks in this pub.. What are you doing round this way?”
 “I’m working on the building site across the road,” explains the duck. “I’m a plasterer.”
 The flabbergasted barman cannot believe the duck and wants to learn more, but takes the hint when the duck pulls out a newspaper from his bag and proceeds to read it.
 So, the duck reads his paper, drinks his beer, eats his sandwich, bids the barman good day and leaves.
 The same thing happens for two weeks.    Then one day the circus comes to town.
 The ringmaster comes into the pub for a pint and the barman says to him “You’re with the circus, aren’t you? Well, I know this duck that could be just brilliant in your circus. He talks, drinks beer, eats sandwiches, reads the newspaper and everything!”
 “Sounds marvelous,” says the ringmaster, handing over his business card. “Get him to give me a call.”
 So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the barman says, “Hey Mr. Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money.”  “I’m always looking for the next job,” says the duck. “Where is it?”
 “At the circus,” says the barman.
 “The circus?” repeats the duck.
 “That’s right,” replies the barman.
 “The circus?” the duck asks again. “That place with the big tent?”
 “Yeah,” the barman replies.
 “With all the animals who live in cages, and performers who live in caravans?” says the duck.
 “Of course,” the barman replies.
 “And the tent has canvas sides and a big canvas roof with a hole in the middle?” persists the duck.
 “That’s right!” says the barman.
 The duck shakes his head in amazement, and says .. . ……………
“What would they want with a plasterer??!”

Yes its an old joke but doesn’t it illustrate how some people cannot see beyond what they know; not prepared to try out new things; not prepared to see if they have other skills; sometimes not even recognising that they have anything unusual about them. I’ve just got back from a meeting of the soon to be created Amber Valley Methodist Circuit and I spent this afternoon in a meeting of the leadership of the soon to be created Borders Mission Methodist Circuit. In each we were looking for people to take up responsibilities and thankfully they did. However in my experience there are many people in many different organisations (not just Church) who cannot conceive of doing things differently, of exploring skills and talents or of any change at all. I wonder why this is ? Perhaps its a basic human need to stay in our comfort zones of only doing what we’ve always done instead of taking risks; however history is littered with the risk takers, some of whom failed spectacularly but of others whose risks led to wonderful things. Advances in medicine, votes for women, the creation of the welfare system, the unity of Protestantism and Catholicism, the advance of the Christian church and so on.

So I want to applaud the risk takers, give thanks for them. and maybe challenge all of us to take a risk for God.

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