Safe is Dangerous

Not long after I started this blog, I wrote about “the Others” in our city. We’re hardly alone as people that are hoping to influence this city for Christ. This particular group, like many in China, are English teachers without any underground ministry, but with an extra portion of the fear that often limits them. There’s a few from their group in a couple of the universities in town, and they have pretty strict policies about witnessing and pretty ridiculous ideas about safety. Lots of the students at our Bible study have these guys for English teachers, and most of them have no idea that they’re Christians. These guys don’t even claim to be missionaries, but they have pretty grand delusions of their own impact.  

This is kind of a strange story, but I guess it about illustrates a point as good as anything. In one of the “I-had-no-idea-they-were-Christians” conversations that we have to have every once in a while, my wife somehow gave one of the students the impression that one of “the Others” was my Bible teacher, or in charge of me, or something. We still don’t really know how she figured that, but she did. And this girl, who has become a Christian and really thrown herself into the Bible study, was really struck by the different “approaches” to ministry. So much so that she decided to quiz this English teacher at her school about it. I’m telling you, as far as the student involved, this couldn’t have hardly happened more explosively! She’s one of those painfully honest people.  

Well, since she figured we were on the same team (which I reckon we are), she plowed right on ahead with all the questions she wanted to ask, which I’m sure about violated every rule of security they’ve ever dreamed up. Anyway, she, in her brutally honest curiosity, wanted to know why we were so different. Why some of us are working to start churches and others aren’t doing anything. (her words, seriously… talk about uncomfortable) Why he never gave her the Gospel. She said she was interested in hearing about Jesus, but she had no idea how to find out more. 

Anyway, this poor guy explains that he doesn’t really have any connection to us (besides the family connection), and he apologized for not doing enough. The student told my wife later, while recounting this story, that she always figured that to them, being a Christian was just something they did for fun, casually and with a low priority. Pretty tough, but not just on that guy. Tough on all of us. Who knows how many times we’ll have to hear words like hers, but standing next to a Great White Throne! In that day, all of our shortcomings as laborers will see their awful end, and an apology won’t quite make up for the damage. As frustrated as I get by these dime-a-dozen, play-it-safe “ministries,” I imagine held in the balance of that day, most of our efforts to win the lost in this generation will seem quite half-hearted, reserved, and passion-less.

One Comment on “Safe is Dangerous”

  1. Chris December 5, 2007 at 7:55 pm #

    Can a person be convicted and encouraged at the same time? I found myself convicted for not opening my mouth enough, but encouraged to confess my sin and try again. Thanks for the story. (Discovered your blog via the Travis Snode site.)

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