Arrows came flying with chilling accuracy. Sabien was a man of his word. It was either “his way or the highway” – both at home and in the village. And he was always more than willing to “help” someone make the “right” choice.
He fit another arrow in his bow …
Then one day – hope arrived.
Missionaries came to his Siawi village and needed help learning his culture and language. Sabien was one of the volunteers. Eventually, the missionaries became fluent and were ready to accurately explain God’s Word to his people. Sabien had helped translate the very Bible lessons they would use to do it.
Now he showed up at the teaching with his two wives.
But something wasn’t quite right.
As the teaching progressed, Sabien became increasingly frustrated. Things weren’t turning out as he expected. He thought that helping the missionaries and being part of this big, new happening in the village would somehow increase his own personal standing and prestige among his people. Instead, everyone just seemed consumed with this promised Redeemer. Worst of all, hearing the same lessons he had helped translate just made him feel uncomfortable.
This was not what he had signed up for. He wanted power and control – not a Redeemer.
“We will not be going to the Bible teaching anymore!” Sabien announced one evening to his devastated family.
He knew of another way to reach his goals …
Sabien would begin taking on more wives – one from every family. If anyone refused, he would burn their house down. He would be recognized as the most powerful in the village – or else.
And the warpath for wives began.
Then suddenly – hope came once again.
After a long absence, Sabien surprised everyone by showing up at the teaching with his seven wives. He listened intently to James 1 being taught. Then he dropped by the missionary’s office with some questions.
“What does it mean that they forget what they looked like after they see themselves in the mirror?” he asked the missionary. “Does that mean their lives are not changed after they have heard the word? That talk has been troubling me,” he admitted.
“And the other talk you shared really hit my stomach hard. The talk about some people’s belief being a dead belief. They are only mouthing their belief. Their belief doesn’t come from the heart. That talk keeps coming back to me over and over.”
He looked earnestly at the missionary and then continued.
“I know what God thinks of me. I know I have done so many terrible things. Things that I should not have done. I have said that I believe with only my mouth. But inside, deep in my heart, where change is supposed to happen, there hasn’t been any change.”
Sabien was searching his soul – and coming up empty. The missionary offered the only remedy.
“Please don’t miss the road of salvation that God is offering you,” he entreated the tribal man. “Repent from your own sinful ways and trust Christ today. The Holy Spirit is convicting you. Don’t give Him your backside.”
But Sabien did just that. The Siawi man looked once again straight into the mirror of God’s Word – then turned around and never came back. Now he’s threatening to take an eighth wife to prove his power. His goal is ten.
Sabien is still consumed with Sabien.
What is consuming you?