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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Amos Meets with the Director of the Prophets



Amos sat nervously in the waiting area as the Director’s administrative assistant carefully arranged a stack of files and papers. “The Director will be with you soon,” she said without making eye contact. She’d said the same thing ten minutes earlier, and twenty minutes before that.

Soon, as it turned out, was an hour and twenty six minutes later. In that time the administrative assistant watered the few decorative plants placed around the room, answered the phone four or five times, went out for lunch and came back. Amos sat where he was, waiting.

Eventually the Director of the Prophets opened his office door, stuck his head out, and said, “Amos, thanks for waiting. Come on in.” Inside the office the Director pointed Amos toward a purposefully uncomfortable chair and said, “Please have a seat.” Amos sat.

The Director of the Prophets sat behind his immense desk, which was devoid of any sign of work save a few sheets of paper – official reports. The edges of these he tapped on the flat surface of the desk to straighten them, then he shuffled through them, reading a line or two from each, and then tapped the edges even again. Then he laid them down flat on the desk. “Amos, I’m going to say it straight: You’re being reassigned.”

Amos silently acknowledge this; it wasn’t completely unexpected.

“You’ve been preaching in…” here the Director consulted the papers again, “Samaria and…  Bethel. And without much success as far as I can see here. So you’re being reassigned to Hebron, in Judea.”

Amos nodded again, still silent.

“But I warn you,” the Director continued. “If you don’t prove yourself there, there won’t be any more assignments…” he let the vague threat hang there in the silence between them.

“Prove myself?” the prophet Amos finally said. “What do you mean?”

“Well just look at your statistical reports: You’ve made few converts, your warnings are completely ignored, you’ve offended King Jeroboam of Israel, and you’ve been denounced by the head priest, Amaziah. This isn’t spectacular work, Amos. And I think you know that.”

“I’m not sure what more you expect, sir.” Amos said carefully. “I’ve delivered the word I’ve been given. I’ve been faithful. I’ve done my duty.”

The Director swept the reports from his desk and dropped them into one of the drawers. “Listen, Amos, it’s apparent to many of us here that you spend too much time talking about social justice, and economic policy. Perhaps your political opinions are getting in the way of your work…”

Amos began to answer, but the Director cut him off. “In any case, you need to show results in Hebron. You should be more like Jonah. Now there’s a prophet that knows how to get things done.  He converted the whole city of Nineveh in less than 40 days…”

Now it was Amos’ turn to cut the Director off. “Sir, you know that report is mostly fiction, right? That whole whale thing is a joke. He thought you’d get it.”

The director fumed. “I think we’re done here, prophet Amos. Report to Hebron.”

Amos stood. “That’s okay sir. I think I’ll go back to my father’s farm and tend to the sheep and the fig trees,” he said then turned and left the room. He was content.

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