URS “You’re so naughty, one day you will be a minister”  Uncle Reggie 的故事:“你这么调皮,你有一天会成为传道人”(Edison 翻译)           

Often I crack a joke to church kids when they are naughty; “You’re so naughty, one day you might become a minister!” God uses all kinds of people, and sometimes it does seem like He takes the naughtiest kids, and makes them into ministers or missionaries.

我经常开玩笑的对教会里顽皮的孩子们说“你很顽皮,你有一天可能会成为传道人!” 神使用各样的人,有时候祂好像真的是拣选最调皮的孩子们,使他们成为传道人或传教士。


There is a vivid historical story of Saul, who became Paul, the Apostle. Saul was more than naughty: as a young man he persecuted the very early church. But when God’s light shone on him, he instantly changed, and he became the premier evangelist of his time, writing a majority of the books of the New Testament, and suffering much in his lifetime for his Lord.


Photo 1: Dramatic change in life, when Jesus appears to Saul on road to Damascus, he becomes Paul, the great missionary, after a life of persecuting Christians, resulting in severe deathly trials. From Google Safe Search, all uses: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1396/5076259214_9a6e4f16d5_b.jpg


As part of the 40th Anniversary of our church in Cincinnati, I illustrated this point by recounting the stories of three of “our kids”, whose names are slightly altered to “protect the innocent.”

我在辛城教会四十周年庆的时候回顾了我们教会里三个孩子们 的故事来说明我的论点。为避免他们太尴尬,以下我用化名来称呼他们。


El was always getting into trouble. My son Trev was always the innocent little kid tagging along with the older El, who was often trying to teach him to do things he shouldn’t do. One day, Trev was visiting with El, and El made this dramatic scene that his dad was very upset, and Trev should quickly hide under his bed. He described how his dad had this furious temper, and he was sure that he would be beaten severely. Then he ducked out of the room where Trev was crouching under the bed, and went into the next room, presumably to bravely meet his father’s anger. Then Trev heard horrific screams from El being beaten by his father, who incidentally was a highly respected Elder of the church. Finally, the yelling stopped, and El came into the room sheepishly; quietly, he told Trev to leave by the back door, and not to tell anyone of how vicious his father was.



Of course, we found out later that El had been beating the table with a belt himself, while he screamed out his cries of anguish.



El became a respected Youth Director, Youth Speaker, English Service Minister, and Chinese Church Senior Pastor. Perhaps El’s dramatic creative skills gave him great insight into how kids function, and obviously great story telling abilities!



Exhibit 2, Jos was one of the brightest kids in the Youth Group and was made Valedictorian of Walnut Hills, the highest scholastically ranked school in Cincinnati. He even composed a Christian song that he was, surprisingly, allowed to sing at his Valedictory speech. This was a creative (even mischievous) action, since as we all know, public schools in America are very sensitive when anything “religious” pops up! As a child, he had a devious streak: he would often be the master planner, and devise schemes which pushed other young kids into action while he stayed behind the scenes and out of trouble.  At the time most of the youth were boys, so one can imagine the amount of trouble the boys easily got into, especially with a good planner.

第二例。Jos是我们青少年组里最聪明的孩子。他是Walnut Hills,辛辛那提学业排行第一的学校,的第一毕业生致辞代表。他还自己写了一首称崇耶稣的歌曲并出乎意料学校准许他在毕业典礼时唱那首歌。这得归功于他出人意表的创意,也可以说是一种顽皮,因为美国公立学校对和信仰有关的事都特别敏感。他小时候有着狡猾的小聪明。他常常策划,促使别的孩子们去做他计划中的事而他自己却在幕后,远离麻烦。那时候教会里大部分青年都是男的。因此,你可以想象男孩们在一个聪明淘气的策划者带领下可以带来多少麻烦.

Photo 3: Never know what some kids might do behind your back. By Seattle artist Lily Heinzin
图片3:你永远不知道小孩子在你背后可能做些什么。华盛顿西雅图艺术家Lilian Heinzin的作品

God used his creative skills and his fertile mind to strategize and plan, and he is now serving on USA campuses at the national level.

神用了他的想象力和泉源不尽的策略计划思路 。他现在是校園基督徒團契的全国领导人之一.


Exhibit 3, is Mic. Mic lost his father when he was only a child. His father disappeared during a swim in California. His mother was not a believer at that time, but was comforted by ladies of the church, who brought her to church. His mother recounted often that Mic was a terribly naughty boy, quoting his father’s comment that his total score for 3 subjects combined did not reach the pass mark. At home he did things like put rice into the clothes washer. At a friend’s home he would go into the closet and empty out the clothes. His mother was just terrified if something would happen when he visited a friend’s home, not being sure what would happen.


Photo 2: Mischievous kids have fertile imaginations about whipping. By Seattle artist Lily Heinzin.
图片2:爱恶作剧的孩子们有着源源不断有关鞭打的想象力. 华盛顿西雅图艺术家Lilian Heinzin的作品

One day at the annual Children’s Vacation Bible School, the elder’s wife introduced the Lord to Mic. He went home and announced to his mother that: “Today, I have a new Father”.



After he became a believer, everything started to change: Mic started to put his creative naughtiness to good use. He would often “sneak” into public toilets and leave Christian tracts, which paved his way to become active in Campus Crusade, an active ministry to college students. As part of his ministry, he was sent to East Asia, and Albania, and finally he is now in US church ministry.



I guess we could interpret naughtiness as expression of an active, creative, and inquisitive mind, that when idled, results in unconventional actions, or pure disobedience. The beauty of spiritual rebirth is that it re-channels these energies into creative pursuits for God. Impulses that if left unchecked could bring disaster, can be turned for good. Young people, if you’re reading this article, I trust that your “naughtiness” can turn into good, and bring blessings to others. You might even become a minister or missionary!