Waste Not, That Ye Be Not Wasted

My naysaying friend, Sn., reappeared at the Bible study Saturday night after a several week absence. He’s really not all that much of a pain. He’s friendly, genuinely appreciates the Bible study, and tells me that he’s praying for me. Not many of the new Christians are likely spending much time in intercessory prayer, much less telling people that they are. So it’s remarkably encouraging to talk to a Christian with a little bit of age. I was a little worried from the get-go, though, because he brought a friend with him, and almost immediately upon their arrival, asked to talk with me in private.

So we went into the kitchen where his friend told me that he is interested in studying the Bible at a seminary somewhere. He doesn’t want to apply to a Three-Self seminary because of their obvious disinterest in a literal teaching of the Bible. He has an opportunity in Singapore to study. Another in some other country – can’t remember – maybe America. And he’s trying to decide if he wants to find a place to study in English or in Chinese. His English honestly isn’t that hot, but he’s afraid, like Sn., that all Chinese material, including their Bible, is second-rate, error-ridden, and to be avoided if at all possible. Sn., who knows that we have a Sunday night leaders meeting, wanted to know what kind of stuff we’re studying and if his friend could join.


That whole second-rate Chinese thing drives me crazy, so I ranted about that for a while (I’m not sure what language level includes ‘ranting,’ but that’s right about where I am… sometimes). That kind of sorry-excuse-for-thinking is going to cripple any Chinese Christian that entertains it. Somehow, these young guys have to start believing that their God is powerful enough to use their language and their Bible and their people. To doubt it is an insult to God Himself. I told them that I completely reject that kind of junk, and I read the Chinese Bible more than I read the English Bible. 


Well, time rolled around to start the Bible study. Pleasantly surprising. When I went into the kitchen to talk to Sn. and his friend, we only had a handful of students in the building. When we emerged, we were almost at capacity! Praise the Lord again for a great night. After the first round, Sn.’s friend found me alone and wanted to talk to me some more. So we probably talked for about half an hour. Probably why I felt so sluggish during the second round – talking for half an hour in Chinese still fries my brain, especially when bracketed by a couple hours of half-Chinese-half English.


I told him that in the future we were planning on starting some kind of training program for pastors, but that was after we had my language school thoroughly finished and a supportive church somewhere. In the meantime, he is welcome to come to our leaders meeting. He seems really interested in the leaders meeting. I also told him what I think needs to be told to every Bible college student on the planet – filling your head full of facts isn’t ministry. A pastor’s job can’t just be to know more than anyone in the church. If this guy is only wants to leave the country and go to a seminary because he’s interested in learning more about the Bible, he should stay home. If he reads regularly and he has no real heart for ministry, he’ll have more knowledge than he’ll ever need to use, anyway. We all know people who know more than anyone around them, but their knowledge never does the people around them any good. What a waste.

One Comment on “Waste Not, That Ye Be Not Wasted”

  1. David Campbell November 6, 2007 at 5:04 pm #

    I could not agree with you more! This has been such a hindrance to me and my growth in Christ. I have been so desperate to ‘grow’ as a Christian and so I take growth into my own hands. Therefore I gravitate to what I can control. i.e. study. For years I have equated ‘knowing’ with maturity. In essence I have just learned more to be disobedient to.

    There is an interesting thing about a Holy God: He will not conform or play by my rules.

    In American Society we seem to have bought into the lie that if we just knew the right things that we would automatically do the right things. Even well meaning Christian parents will move heaven and earth to make sure their kids get into the right schools all the while saying with their mouth that only Jesus saves. How easy it is to compartmentalize.

    Keep up the good work. I am praying for you guys!

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