Forecasting an unchanged future

Did you ever think that you might like to be a prophet and predict the future? Actually, prophecy in the Scriptures was not so much about predicting the future as predicting what the future would be like if people didn’t change. If you think of it that way, any one of us might be a prophet. Take Greg, for instance.

When she looked back on it Jenny realized that they probably should have seen it coming. Perhaps if they had checked his references more thoroughly the owner of the factory might not have hired Greg in the first place and saved everyone a lot of trouble.
It started quietly enough. Greg would ask one of the other machinists, “Why haven’t you been taking your breaks?” or “Where do you eat your lunch?” When they answered that they couldn’t meet their production quotas if they took time away from the line, he wouldn’t say anything. He’d just get this funny look on his face. But all of that was before the accident. The machine Greg was working on caught fire. When he turned to get the fire extinguisher his foot slipped on some oil on the floor and he fell, breaking his leg in several places.

Then Greg started asking tougher questions. “What happened to the screen that was supposed to keep machine oil from spraying the area around it?” and “Why was there no fire extinguisher within arm’s reach as required by law?” That’s when the investigators came in.

Funny, by the time the whole thing came to trial, all of the written reports that Greg had submitted on the case had somehow “disappeared” from the file. All those answers to all those questions were gone. Of course, by then, Greg was gone, too. He’d probably never be able to stand for long periods of time again so it only made good sense for the company to let him go – with a good settlement, of course.

Did you ever think that you might like to be a prophet? Greg probably never thought about it much. Most of us don’t. But maybe, just maybe.

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.