A minister and a soap maker went for a walk together.
The soap maker said, "What good is religion? Look at all the trouble
and misery of the world! Still there, even after years -- thousands
of years -- of teaching about goodness and truth and peace. Still
there, after all the prayers and sermons and teachings. If religion
is good and true, why should this be?"
The minister said nothing.
They continued walking until he noticed a child playing in the gutter.
Then the minister said, "Look at that child. You say that soap makes
people clean, but see the dirt on that youngster. Of what good is
soap? With all the soap in the world, over all these years, the child
is still filthy. I wonder how effective soap is, after all!"
The soap maker protested. "But, soap cannot do any good unless it is applied!"
"Exactly!" replied the minister.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it
says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like
a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself,
goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who
looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues
to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it --
he will be blessed in what he does.