The master wanted to have a special suit made for his daughter’s wedding. He went to the village tailor, who measured him up and said, “If God wills it, we’ll have your suit ready in one week.”
The master was glad to hear this as the wedding was still two weeks away. After a week, he sent one of his disciples to collect the suit. But the tailor met the disciple with an apologetic look and said, “Sorry, but there was a problem with the cloth and we had to make several adjustments. But we will rush our work and if God wills it, your master will have his suit in 3 days.”
After 3 days, another disciple came to claim the suit, but still the tailor came out empty-handed and said, “Sorry again, but this time, if God wills it, the suit will be ready by tomorrow.”
When the disciple reported this back to the master, he said, “Go back and ask him how long it will take if he keeps God out of it.”
The Chairman of the University’s Theology Department passed away suddenly and the other heads scrambled to find a suitable replacement. One of them suggested the name of the master, who lived nearby and who had a reputation for holiness.
So they went to the master’s house but he was away. They then told the chief disciple their intentions and asked him to convey the message to the master.
The disciple said, “I thank you for thinking well of my master, but I don’t think he will accept your invitation.”
“Whyever not?” asked one professor. “Our University is one of the most reputable in the country. He should be honored that we are the ones who come inviting him. It’s not every day that we go inviting someone to be the chairman of one of our departments.”
The disciple replied, “I’m sorry, but it has nothing to do with your reputation or what you have done today. But the master emphasizes the actual practice and discipline of holiness rather than the teaching and studying of it. I don’t think he would do very well in the task you have planned for him.”
“But he would be in a perfect position to teach,” insisted the professor. “He would be sharing from his own experience.”
The disciple replied, “He is already teaching, in his own fashion. But he cannot do it within the confines of the University. Think about this. Would you ask a lion or a tiger to be the chairman of your Zoology Department?”