L'Abri Newsletter, July 2010

Dear Praying Family,

Like a kitchen knife that has become blunt due to its overuse, I find myself getting blunt and rusty in my lecture, counseling and sermon. There must be many explanations to this phenomenon; it may be due to negligence, mannerism, lack of tension or challenge, misuse, or long-term mismanagement. In fact, Solomon pointed out that it takes more strength and will lead you to peril. “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength but wisdom helps one to succeed.” (Eccl. 10:10)

Then what should I do with my blunt and rusty knife? The easiest way is to leave it as it is as I am too old to change. Another odd way to solve the problem is to find a job that does not require sharpness. The other way is to follow Solomon’s suggestion in Proverbs 27:17; iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens his friend’s countenance Let’s look into what it actually means and how we can apply.

Most of all, iron sharpens iron. “Iron” in this passage means “a tool that cuts or pierces” which includes knife, ax, arrow, arrowhead, needle and etc. What they share in common is that they should be sharp. They are useless when they are blunt. “Sharpen” in Hebrew is “hadard” that means to sharpen the end, to whet the blade, to charge with vigor, and to radiate. It is true that the sharpened knife can be radiated.

Moreover, a wise friend sharpens his friend’s countenance. As said in the Proverbs, a wise friend sharpens his friend’s countenance as iron sharpens iron. Therefore, there are two kinds of friends. A simple friend scoffers delight in his scoffing (Proverbs 1:22), is reckless and careless (Proverbs 14:16), and of quick temper and acts foolishly (Proverbs 14:17). A wise friend, on the other hand, whose wounds are faithful (Proverbs 27:6), gives earnest counsel (Proverbs 27:9), loves purity of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king shall be his friend (Proverbs 22:11).

Thirdly, we are in dire need for a wise friend who will sharpen our blunt and rusty knife. Unfortunately, majority of people including myself stays away from such friends and bring fools closer. Proverb 13:20 says “whoever walks with the wise become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” However, we prefer easy going friends and smooth talking friends rather than the wise although this leads to harm (Proverbs 13:20), backsliding (Proverbs 1:32), and destruction (Proverbs 16:18).

If you want to become sharpened in spirit, career, and thinking, befriend with a person who whets and rubs the rust off, polishes, and sharpens your countenance. Of course, our best friend is Jesus who is a friend of tax collectors and sinners (Matt. 11:19) and friends who are closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Many visitors in summer remind me of certain verses from the late poet Seok Heon Han’s “Do you have such a friend?”

Do you have such a friend
Whom you trust enough
To leave your wife and children in his care
Before you bark on a long journey

Do you have such a friend
Who will say to you “promise me that you will live”
Handing you the last life saver
In a sinking ship

Do you have such a friend
Who will make you overcome luring temptation
By a thought of him gently shaking his head in disapproval
Despite universal assent

Korean L’Abri is expected to have countless visitors this summer from June 11th until August 19th. We had few long-term students but more than 20 visitors from last week alone. Professor Tae Hee Lee is scheduled to give lecture on oriental medicine (July 2nd and 3rd), Professor Jong Chul Ahn on Modern Korean History (July 17th), Dr. Eun Sil Goo on diet (July 18th), and Mr. Sung Wook Paek on genealogy of left-wing intellectuals (July 24th) and Dr. Gye Won Bang on homosexuality (August 1st). Please pray for students, visitors and lecturers that God’s wisdom will echo throughout Seorak mountain area.

We ask you to continue to pray for the health of JiHo and JiMin, ChunSung and Suyeon’s children. EunChol and EunHa’s family have gone through a list of sicknesses ever since last spring; they need your special prayer. Please pray for MoKyung to survive the summer heat. My last but not the least prayer request is for my daughter, HaeJin, that she gets enough tuition to complete her last senior year studying art history. Although her tuition does not come through to make it to graduation, I trust she could not have come so far without God’s special miracle, grace and blessing to fulfill her dream to become God’s historian.

I sincerely hope you will be well in this hot summer under God’s care and befriend wise friends who will sharpen your countenance. My prayer goes out to all of you who pray and support for L’Abri regularly that you would be full of God’s grace and truth.

Yours respectfully,

InKyung from YangYang

Translated by MoKyung Choi

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