“Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ and ‘No, No’…” (Matthew 5:37)
On a recent Bible Land Tour in Turkey, we saw a shop advertising “Genuine Fake Watches”! To me it’s an oxymoron at once amusing as well as thought-provoking. It provokes me to examine my own faith, my own personal walk with the Lord and the way I present myself to the world. In those regards, am I a Genuine Watch, a Fake Watch or what.. ?
That reminds me of Eric Liddell (of “Chariots of Fire” fame). He was a Christian “Sine cere”. At age 23 in 1925, Eric was already a missionary to China, teaching Chemistry and English. As he explained to his students, the English word sincere is made up of two words “sine” means ‘without’ and “cere” means ‘wax’. He explained that in the past when a sculptor made a statue, he would sign the bottom of it and add the phrase “sine cere”. In doing so, he was guaranteeing that the work he did on the sculpture had no mistakes that had been covered over with wax to disguise them.
Eric told the boys that living the Christian life means that they did not cover up their character weaknesses and mistakes but instead lived sincere lives.
Indeed Eric life’s was so “sine cere” that he won many souls to Christ. For example, he influenced many of 17 students in his regular weekly Bible class to faith. One of them in later years even wrote to Eric and signed himself off “Yours without wax”!
Eric Liddell died at age 43 in a Japanese internment camp for foreigners during World War Two. In the camp, he was “uncle” to many. He was just a person who honoured God and helped people in their need. One Reverend Howard Smith wrote of Eric: “I never saw Eric angry. I never heard him say a cross or unkind word. He just got about doing good.”
Eric was following and living out scriptural teachings, “Love is patient… Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) and thorough honesty, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” (Matthew 5:37).
This cynical world needs men and women of total honesty and integrity as never before. May our lives be so “sine cere”, “genuine watches” loving and doing good before men that they too may come to know our Lord Jesus.
For that we cannot rely on our own resolution or goodwill. Try as we may, we will fail. We must depend solely on the power of the Holy Spirit within us daily, moment by moment, conforming us to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ, changing us from self-centered lives to sacrificial ones.
Indeed Eric knew the Truth “to know Him is to do His will and to do His will is to know Him” (John 7:17, 1 John 5:1-3). So must we…
By Dr Leong Chee Lu (YCKC Bulletin 28&29 June 2014)