Lizards and Theological Education

Do you ever complain about things not being part of your job? or about the little things? or about things you don’t like about your job? This is another Gem from “The Life of James Robertson” by Ralph Connor. Robertson is particularly unimpressed with some of the young, student ministers that he has recruited for the mission fields in Western Canada in the 1880’s. He calls a particular student “whiney” because he’s complaining about uncomfortable beds and things crawling on him in the night, and irregular meals that aren’t always tasty.

Robertson tells the student about a night when he slept in a dugout where lizards crawled onto his face and neck to find warmth. He just brushed them off and turned over.

Then we get this great quote:

“The poor student stood horrified. The Superintendent [Robertson] enthused for a few moments on lice and lizards and snakes, as though encounters therewith were as valuable as theology in a true missionary’s education, and the complaining dude subsided. His hardships vanished into thin air. He was rebuked and shamed, but could not reply, and the conversation drifted to other themes.”

Special note: A “dude” here, is a city-slicker. Although, I am tempted to picture Robertson saying “Quit whining, dude. One time, I had to sleep with lizards! Man, I learned a lot that night.”


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