A friend of mine has just spent a couple of weeks there teaching to churches in China. He was telling me how he had dinner with his parents in Auckland, a day later he wakes up in a hotel in Shanghai, and just a day after that they are woken from their sleep in a small hut in the provinces and told the police are coming. Apparently the Chinese don't take to kindly to foreigners teaching stuff other than communism. He and his two friends are loaded onto the back of mopeds and whisked away up some back tracks to avoid detection and arrest. There was a spark in his eye that I haven't seen in a while as he recounted how the ride on the moped was like an out of body experience, it seemed so surreal. The taste of his mums stew still lingered in his mouth and he could not believe that in less than two days he had gone from the comfort of home, to escaping the authorities in a foreign country.
There is something about my friend's heart that has grown warmer since he left. His Spirituality and personality have grown from the two weeks in China and I sense that the people he taught have benefited from what he did, even though he made little mention of it. He said he was going to do the same thing next year, so that he and his friends in China can grow.
As I think about the time my friend spent on people he didn't know at great risk to himself, my mind turned to my young friend who asked me the question the other day. A huge lesson for me over the last 10 years has been the value of time.
When I was younger I used to fill my time up with activities, good ones like friends, family and entertainment. I used to spend time doing things because I thought they were a good idea without really considering there implications or true value. I still do that by the way. When I was younger I was actually more time rich than I am now, no kids or added responsibility, but I didn't perceive it that way and spent heaps of time doing ridiculous things that really didn't matter in the long run.
I wonder if I had really thought about it 10 years ago if I would have spent more time helping more people, people I don't know like people in China or Costa Rica, or homeless people in town, or just helping out in places where I get no recognition (a hard thing for a young man to do). Not all of my time just more of it, rather than basically none of it.
I am still learning about time, the problem is I keep losing it while I learn…