A pastor took up a new position in a small country town, dependent for its income of timber milling. Walking by the river one day he noticed some of the men from his congregation standing atop logs floating down the river. This was the way the logs were transported from the forest to the mill. He admired the skill of the men in standing upon the moving logs and sawing a meter or two off the end of each as they floated downstream. But his admiration turned to horror when he saw the branding on the logs. They came from an opposition sawmill. The men were stealing the ends of the logs and rebranding them as their own.
The following Sunday the newly arrived pastor stood up to preach. He chose as the title for his sermon, “Thou shalt not steal”. Afterward he was congratulated by the loggers on a fine sermon. Pleased that they had got the point he took another walk by the river the following day. But to his utter astonishment there were the men cutting off the end of the opposition’s logs once more. Clearly they had not appreciated the point.
The following Sunday the pastor stood up to preach once more. This week’s sermon title: “Thou shalt not cut off the end of thy neighbour’s logs.” The next week the minister was sacked.