I’ve just taken on a job for a good, old-time friend who last night delivered to my mind a big time lesson with the efficiency of a TV Evangelical Pastor working for DHL.
This friend of mine is on the verge of launching a project that he has spent more than five years nurturing. From way back when, he has been quite the local celeb on many a stage show – entertainment, business, social life, and even politics to some extent.
Then, quite out of the blue to those who weren’t interacting with him on a regular, he got saved. Just like that. He dropped off the radar as far as a celeb in this town can drop off the radar, and then rumours started going round about how he was doing badly and had “lost it”.
In a couple of weeks all that will be largely forgotten, but last night he quoted Bible to me and I realised again how much I should be reading and interpreting the Bible the way I used to when I was younger.
“The Bible says in Malachi,” he said from the front seat of the car, en route to dropping me off at home, “the silversmith puts the silver in the hottest part of the flame, so that the impurities can get burnt off. But he keeps an eye on the silver to make sure it doesn’t get spoilt.” (This is in Malachi 3:2-3.)
This pal of mine, when he got saved, invested everything he had into this one major project, and dropped all aspects of his former life all at one go. Then the suffering began. The money ran out but he had to keep investing, so you can imagine the rest.
“But that teaching in Malachi made me realise what God was doing. I was put into the heart of the fire and went through suffering I had never imagined possible. People talked about me, laughed at me and I really wondered. But the conviction was strong,” he continued.
“God watched me as closely as the silversmith watches his silver, and when I had had all my issues burnt away – the arrogance, the big ego, the lifestyle…when I was humbled totally, he pulled me out.
“And when the silversmith takes the silver out of the fire, with all its impurities burnt away, what does he have in his hands? Silver that is so bright he can see his own image. That’s what God does.”
Now, have I already been through the fire…or is the warmth up ahead not just a change in the weather?