Wasting Time

Following the 2008 earthquake in East Asia, Renchen was left paralyzed and totally dependent. She often felt like a burden to her care-givers, a waste of their time.

Although Renchen was from a marginalized people group, some local believers visited her in the hospital soon after her injury. For nine years they provided hands-on care for her in her village. These believers treated her like family. As they bathed Renchen and washed her hair, their love melted her heart. In her brokenness, she invited Jesus to come and make her whole. Renchen became the first believer from her people group.

When she knew she was dying, Renchen deliberately chose to forego all of the Buddhist rituals and asked for a Christian funeral. She understood intimately what it meant to be dependent upon others for her physical self, and she wanted to publicly declare that she was utterly dependent upon Jesus for her eternal self. Dying, she poured out her life as a witness to her unreached community. Not a drop was wasted.

Renchen’s family members expressed their gratitude again and again to the believers. Their love had broken through barriers of ethnicity, religion and language.

The acts of compassion toward Renchen became an inspiration to other local believers as well. One of them was a young man who was inspired to spend three years sacrificing his own cultural identity in order to form relationships with this people group. He wore their clothing, ate their food, drank butter tea, and studied their language. Some said he was wasting his time.

“Why bother?” they asked. “Why bother learning their language when many of them are learning ours?” Ignoring their criticism, he successfully learned their language and then planted a small church, inspiring other believers to plan long-term outreach strategies among this people group.

In a similar way, when Jesus was in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster flask of expensive perfume. When she broke the flask and poured its contents over Jesus’ head, she was sharply criticized by others for the wastefulness of her actions.

But Jesus had a very different response. He said, “Surely I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Matthew 26:13). As we remember her, let us also remember Renchen and others like her in East Asia, whose lives are being poured out for the sake of the Gospel.

by a worker in East Asia