akiva ben joseph

A little humor this morning!  I was doing some research on a famous story and ran across this cartoon.  Pretty funny.

The story I heard for the second time in 30 years is below.  I could not remember who it happened to and here is the best answer I could come up with.  Akiva Ben Joseph is given credit for this story and it happened in the early first century just after the death and reserrection of Jesus.  I am like Akiva.  I would be much more effective each day if I had someone to ask me these two questions each morning when I rose.

Who are you and why are you here?

Akiva ben Joseph

40AD – 132AD

There is an old story about Akiva, the rabbi, who lived just outside the 2nd-century city of Capernaum. Akiva had been to the village to gather some supplies and was walking back to his cabin. Deep in thought, when he came to a fork in the road, he went to the right rather than taking the path that would lead him home. Suddenly a voice came through the darkness, “Who are you and why are you here?” Rousing his senses the rabbi realized he was in unfamiliar territory. Straining to see through the darkness he recognized the Roman fortress—the military barracks—and slowly realized the questions were coming from the sentry on duty, “Who are you and why are you here?”

Being a rabbi and a scholar he answered the question with a question. “Young man, how much do they pay you to stand guard and ask those questions of those who approach?” Rather than being defensive, the guard could see he was dealing with a man of the cloth—not an intruder. He answered, “4 drachmas a week ($100).” The rabbi replied immediately, “I’ll double your pay if you come with me, stand at the door of my cabin and ask me those same two questions each morning as I leave for the day.”

As a leader, we can give each other permission to ask these two questions to each other.  This could be your lifeline in the marketplace.