Early in my seminary life our class was taken to a monastery. We were introduced to a "pronk." This is what the guy called himself. He was both a priest and a monk, therefore "pronk." This pronk gave us the following instructions. "Go out on the campus grounds, find a tree, sit under the tree and while there, pray and meditate. After we have all completed this activity, we will process the experience together. I dutifully went out, found my tree, practiced both meditation and prayer, and returned to our pronk after 8-10 minutes. "Now what?" I asked. He smiled saying "John, I thought you might take a little more than 8-10 minutes. This was an exercise for the entire morning."
"You are kidding right?" I answered "I have to tell you, this was hard for me. I could never do what you do. I could never spend all day, every day, in prayer and meditation. That would make me crazy!"
Still smiling he explained with the wisdom of the Buddha "When you complete seminary you will go out into the world and serve a church. You will be surrounded by people all day and every day. You will visit in their homes, participate and lead small groups, shake 300 plus hands on Sunday morning and walk the busy city streets networking with strangers. I could never do what you have been called to do. That would make ME crazy, so I have a suggestion. Let's partners in ministry together........ How about if you go out into the world and do what you do for me and I will stay here, find a tree under which I can pray for you every day and we will be a team. Maybe then neither one of us will have to go crazy."
During my 38 years of pastoring local churches I have felt the prayers of my friend the pronk. These prayers have given me the strength to inhabit my world of chaos because I knew he was standing tall in his disciplined, ordered world of contemplation. We have been partners in ministry.