Summary: A successful businessman discovers that all he has accumulated is worth nothing when weighed against his relationship failures.
Style: Dramatic. Duration: 8min
Scripture: Mark 8:36
Actors: 4M, 2F
Enderson's business partner
(Scene: A desk, with a chair either side. Hidden initially from the audience is a pair of scales or balance. Also a bag of red blocks and a bag of white blocks. There is a waste bin beside the desk. A man enters, looks around slightly confused. After a few moments, another man – an assurance salesman – enters.)
Salesman: Ah, Mr Enderson! I'm pleased you could come. (Goes and shakes his hand.)
Enderson: This is all rather strange. Are you sure I'm in the right place?
Salesman: Certainly. You need life assurance, and we can give you that.
Enderson: But that's just it. I've already got all the life insurance I need.
Salesman: You misunderstand, Mr Enderson. You may have life insurance, but do you have life assurance?
Enderson: I thought they were the same thing.
Salesman: Oh no, far from it. Life insurance is where you die and someone else gets the money, right?
Enderson: (Hesitant) Yes...
Salesman: Life assurance is where you die, and you get the reward.
Enderson: I thought you can't take it with you when you die!?
Salesman: It depends on what “it” we are talking about. (Holds his hands out sideways, as if weighing a balance.) Money... or life. (Takes Enderson by the elbow, leads him to one of the chairs.) I can see you're confused... let's make the illustration a little more vivid.
(The salesman goes to the chair on the other side of the table, sits, reaches down and brings the scales/balance into view, and places it on the table between them.)
Salesman: Let's consider for a moment that your life is in the balance. (Enderson reacts with alarm.) Actually, it's always in the balance, Mr Enderson, for every one of us. Choices. It's all about choices. (He brings into view the two bags of blocks.) But now we get to look at your choices. Here's how it works. I'm going to ask you some questions, and with each one you pick up a block and put it on one side of the balance or the other. The red go to your left, and the white to your right. You have free choice, and you can put as many of one colour as you like at a time. Or even split them 50/50 if you're not sure.
Enderson: This is all very strange. I didn't sign up for this. (Starts to rise.)
Salesman: Mr Enderson, I can't stop you from leaving. But if you do, there is one assurance I can give you... you will never have any assurance of anything in your life again. You are on anti-depressants. You drink more than you know is good for you. Your weight and cholesterol are way over, and you sweat your bed every night. Assurance could start you on a new track. But, yes, it's your call.
Enderson: (Sinks back down in the chair.) Very well.
Salesman: Good. Here's the first question. Do you think you communicate well with your wife?
(Enderson is slightly relieved. It's not the sort of question he had been expecting. He hesitates a moment and then picks up three white blocks and puts them on the scales. He does not notice that as he is deliberating, a woman – his wife – enters behind him. After Enderson puts the blocks on the scales, his wife without speaking steps around him, looks him in the eye, and takes two off the scales and throws them in the bin. She exits.)
Enderson: (Stunned, rises to go after her) Maria!
Salesman: Sit down, Mr Enderson.
Salesman: I said, sit down. There are more questions. Next, how good is the relationship with your son? Think carefully.
(Enderson still has not fully recovered from the first question. He shakes a little, and then picks up a red block, places it on the scales. As he does so, a young man enters from behind, weeping. He steps around Enderson. He takes another red block and places it on the scales, and then exits.)
Salesman: Next question. You have been a very successful businessman, and have made a lot of money. Are you proud of what you have built up?
Enderson: (Hesitant at first.) Yes... (Looks around him to see if anyone is behind – there is not. Now more confident.) Yes, I've worked hard and a lot of people have benefited. (Slightly beligerant) Including my family. (He picks up five white blocks and places them triumphantly on the scales.)
Salesman: How many lies did you have to tell on your way to the top?
Enderson: (Indignant) They weren't lies... Bending the rules a bit, maybe. But it's impossible to be in business and be lilly-white. And believe me, my competitors were far worse.
(As he speaks, a secretary enters from behind, goes to the scales and places five red blocks on them. Exits.)
Salesman: And your business partner. You engineered a boardroom coup while he was on holiday. How do you think he looks on you today?
Enderson: (Buries his head in his hands. Tearful.) He probably hates me. (He places five red blocks on the scales.)
(A man enters from behind. He goes addresses Enderson.)
Partner: I have forgiven you. And though you meant it for ill, God used that for good, setting me on a new career that I love far more.
(The partner takes the five red blocks off the scales and puts them in the bin, then exits. Enderson is stunned.)
Enderson: I feel like my whole life is being laid bare. How much more is there?
Salesman: Only one more question, Mr Enderson. But think carefully, because this is actually the most important. (Pause) You have been a regular attender at church, you have been on the board/diaconate (whatever fits your church). You have donated a lot of money. But what is your personal relationship with Christ?
(Enderson stares at the Salesman. Slowly his hand raises and hovers over the bricks. As he is about to make a choice, a figure in white appears behind him. All freeze.)
© John McNeil 2015. All rights reserved.