Pastoral Perspectives

Mystery Of The Missing Bible

The year 2012 is barely three months old and so many things had already happened that I could not decide what to write on. We have already heard and talked about those relating to lust and vices and I like how one ST editor puts it: with great power comes great immorality. What about that not in my backyard attitude? It began some years ago when the government wanted to convert an unused school into a dormitory for foreign workers. Now it seems like some people do not want elderly folks to be too close either. Looking beyond our shores, the world mourns the passing away of two great singers of the past century. And in the sporting world, something called Linsanity erupted out of nowhere. Just who is this Jeremy Lin who couldn’t stop giving thanks to God? Well, he isn’t the first Asian American to do so. Some two decades ago, God gave the world Michael Chang. And I am sure Jeremy wouldn’t be the last either. Anyhow, someone wasn’t too pleased with Linsanity and so tweeted that the source of the hype is race and not performance because many black players do what he does every night. And this tweety talk about race brings back to mind the spat I mentioned in my last perspective. And interestingly, there has been new development in this incident as well.

Now if you can recall, the spat was about a player being accused of racial abuse by another and was deemed guilty though there were no witnesses and evidences. The player had since served his ban duly but soon found himself having to face his accuser again in an away game. So would he extend his hand for the traditional handshake? The footballing world waited to find out and the answer was a resounding NO! And because he chose not to, he missed the opportunity to bring a closure to the incident and so the blame game continues. Now what if he had extended his hand and his accuser reciprocated? I suppose his accuser would not have celebrated so dangerously close to him after the final whistle.

Well, as I pondered over all this and thought that I might as well follow up on it, I found myself caught in a similar situation that demanded a similar response from me. It started with the order for ESV bibles. Then came a request for a study bible to be included. When the consignment came, the bibles were all packed neatly inside sealed boxes and were duly accepted as it were. All bibles except for one were supposed to be inside the boxes and SKS would deliver the remaining one later. So Sunday came and I had the boxes brought over to the event hall for distribution. Some Yamers were on hand to help out and as we were unpacking, I told them to look out for the study bible. Alas, the study bible was no where to be found. So I told Karen about it and asked her to check with Theresa from SKS who handled our transaction. Theresa however was sure that the study bible was included in the consignment because she had personally supervised the packing. But I replied that I had also personally supervised the unpacking and was sure the study bible was not inside any of the boxes. So how? Anyhow, I decided not to pursue the matter and so told Karen that I would get a new one to replace it. There were two reasons for doing so. First, I had accidentally sent an email wrongly to Theresa when SKS informed us that there would be a delay in the delivery. So I thought it was an opportunity for me to make amends even though I had already apologized. Second, I have some SKS vouchers and so it wouldn’t really cost me a single cent anyway and therefore I had no excuse to let it slip by.

So I paid SKS a visit, grabbed the study bible and went to the counter to pay. There were three queues and so I went for the shortest one. Lo and behold, the gentleman at that counter was the same guy who had delivered the boxes of bibles. He recognized me and asked why I was getting another study bible? Before I could ask him what he meant, he continued and said that he had just gone to True Way to deliver the remaining bible that SKS owed us and the study bible to replace the one that I claimed was not in the consignment. So here is the rough transcript of our conversation.

Me: “You mean you just delivered another study bible?”

SKS: “Yes! We do not want to accuse True Way and so we are willing to replace it.”

Me: “Oh dear! And I do not want to accuse SKS and so I have come to get the bible.”

SKS: “Oh, in that case, it is settled and I will put this one back.”

Me: “So funny! We do not want to accuse one another and thank God that somehow we get to meet each other here at this very hour. Else I will have another study bible for myself.”

Well, I was glad that we did not want to falsely accuse the other and were willing to take the initiative to settle the matter and move on. And yes, I agree that the cost might not be significant and the real challenge comes when it involves a much greater sum. But sometimes, all that it costs for us to make amends or apologize is a mere handshake and a willingness to forgive and forget. Yet it may be significant enough that we struggle to do so. And if we cannot deal with small matters, how can we mature and be able to deal with bigger ones? As for that missing study bible, I have no idea what happened to it. It remains a mystery! Perhaps an angel came and took it out of the sealed box to see how God’s people would react to it. And maybe the email that I accidentally sent out and the SKS vouchers that were graciously given to me were all part of the plot as well. Who knows? But one thing I know for sure, i.e. I was glad that I responded well and so was able to experience God’s approval. So can you!

Pastor Ronnie

March 11, 2012