ONCE UPON A time, not too far from where you live, a man was walking down a country lane. All of a sudden he came upon an empty well. He was a curious fellow by nature, so he stopped and stooped to look down the shaft. His feet slipped and down he went.

Before long (fortunately) a group of preachers came down the same road. “Help!” cried the man in the well. “Help!” The first preacher spoke. “Sorry, old fellow. There’s nothing we can do about this. Before you were born you were chosen to be in or out of that well. Apparently your case it was in. Sorry, but there’s nothing anyone can do to help you now.” And he sat down on the side of the road to eat a candy bar.

“No, no!” exclaimed the second, one I. M. Evangelical. “That’s not the case at all! You CAN do something. Just believe that I will get you out.” “Men throw me a rope!” pleaded the man in the well. “That would never do,” his advisor said. “We cannot let you work for it. Just sit tight and keep believing.” And he sat down beside the first preacher.

“Pardon me,” interrupted the third man. “I have no power to save you myself, but perhaps I can be of help.” With this he took out a rope and tossed it down the well. “Now you must have complete confidence,” he called. “Fasten yourself to the rope.” So the man in the well did, and before he knew it, he was out again.

“Thanks a million!” said the rescued man. “Say, what is your name?” “Oh, my name is Christian,” responded the helper. “N. T. Christian. But don’t give me the credit. The rope saved you. I only threw it. And don’t you get a big head either! What did you do but trust yourself to the rope?”

It’s a silly story, isn’t it. Or is it?