A Steward of Time


. . . Brother Christie [Alliance worker to China, 1892–1955] urged the missionaries to pray that souls should be saved there from the first day meetings were held.

Prayer was answered. At the first service four men accepted Christ, among them an odd looking character named Wang—middle-aged, dressed in old-fashioned clothes and wearing the long out-dated queue. Wang’s life-story proved to be as strange as his appearance. He and his wife had lost 13 children. Sickness seemed to plague their very existence, in spite of the fact that they were devout religionists, maintaining a private sanctuary in their home and offering up continual incense before the idols. Even a magic book which was reputed to “hold down the gods” proved ineffective.

At wit’s end Wang came to the gospel hall, attracted by the dedication service of the new building. Here he accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord. At first he was fearful of the evil spirits and idols he had served so long, but eventually mounted sufficient courage to burn his images. Then he found true peace. Through his faithful witness, Mrs. Wang was won to the Lord. At the time she was expecting a child, and she and her husband were earnestly hoping that this one would survive. Tragically, both mother and child died. How would Wang stand this terrible test of faith?

Prayer and fellowship of the Ti Tao Christians helped to sustain him in the deep waters of trial, and he entered the Bible Training School to prepare for active Christian service. Study proved difficult at his age, but ploddingly he completed the course, graduated, and became attached to one of the evangelistic bands which were itinerating through Kansu.

When Wang had been a Christian some 10 years, Communism swept across China, the missionaries left, and the churches were forced to assume self-support. Unable to maintain all workers, they dropped some of the newer ones including Wang, but he continued to preach on a voluntary basis. Buddhist painting had been his original profession. He had specialized in temple decorations, idols and religious pictures. Cut off from mission friends, he supported himself by painting gospel posters, among them a series depicting the story of the prodigal son.

Long, lean years of humble ministry sorely tested Wang, but he remained faithful. Eventually the large church at Ti Tao called him as its pastor and requested his ordination. More years passed, history repeated itself, Communism again came to Kansu, and once more the missionaries withdrew. But Pastor Wang carried on in the church at the dedication of which he had been saved. Long past retiral age he shepherded the flock, conducting the city services and walking many miles to serve country congregations as well.

Everything we have belongs to God. We are his stewards. (1 Chron. 29:14)

Adapted from William Christie: Apostle to Tibet by Howard Van Dyck ©1956, Christian Publications Inc.

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