Vietnam War

Keeping God’s Law Absolutely – Story of a Spoon (Part 2)

Then, a peculiar thing happened: the officer who usually took advantage of every opportunity to berate junior soldiers simply stared at me for a few seconds and then said, “Have you lost your spoon? Quickly go look for it. I will check again tomorrow.” He likely knew that I was a very upright person who never messed around and was just very unlucky to have met this predicament. So he let the matter go and walked away.

After the officer left, everyone dispersed. Only a few brothers whom I was closer with surrounded me. “I think you should quickly escape by climbing over the wall and then buy a spoon from the shop just outside the camp,” a few of them suggested.

“I can’t do that. If I do that, others will think that I’m trying to escape from the army, and I’ll have to face the consequences.” I felt that the idea wouldn’t fly.

“I know that you are unwilling to steal other people’s things, but you shouldn’t have been so loud. Now everyone knows that your spoon is missing. Even if I wanted to borrow a spoon for you, it would be difficult,” another brother sighed.

“Thank you for your kind intentions. However, I cannot steal from others no matter what. It’s better for me to quickly come up with another solution.” I clutched my head as I thought hard about how to resolve this issue.

“Ah, yes! I should ask the military chaplain for help.” I was enlightened and quickly went to the church that was set up by the army.

“Pastor—sorry to trouble you—I want to consult with you regarding something: Tomorrow my troop will be conducting an inspection on personal equipment. But the thing is, I’ve lost my spoon. Is it okay if I borrow a spoon from you for the inspection? I will return it to you once it’s finished.”

“No way! If I lend it to you, what will I use to eat my meals?”

“Don’t worry. I will return it to you after the inspection tomorrow morning. It shouldn’t affect you much.”

“No. Losing your spoon is your responsibility. Why are you troubling me?”

“Please! I have no other way! I can’t just leave the camp to get a new one, as this would violate the laws of the army and make me a deserter. But I also don’t want to steal from others, as that would be a sin. I can only depend on you, pastor. I will not lie or play games with you; I promise to return it to you right after the inspection.”

“No. You should have looked after your belongings better. Now that you’ve lost what was yours, you have to be held responsible for it.”

No matter how much I pleaded, the pastor stood firm on his decision. Even when I asked if he could help me to inquire of churchgoers for help, the pastor still refused to offer any assistance. Falling short of my expectations, the pastor completely rejected me.

Like a deflated balloon, I walked out of the church and thought, “Why? How can someone who believes in God be so heartless? He is a high-ranking officer. It wouldn’t even be that difficult for him to go into the kitchen and ask for a few spoons. And I even said that I would return the spoon to him immediately after the inspection, so why did he reject me so persistently? And why was he so unwilling to help in even the smallest way? This is so disappointing! If I ever become a pastor in the future, I will definitely, definitely not be like him! Sigh. Luckily I’ve only lost a spoon; let me just accept that at least I have lost only the smallest item. If they want to punish me, then so be it. I will have to be more careful in the future.”

Going back to the bunk room, the other brothers were already asleep in bed, so I climbed onto my own bed. I was so depressed that I lay down to pray, complaining to God for a long time, and then fell asleep unknowingly.

The next morning, I felt a strange pain in my chest when I awoke.

“What’s wrong? I shouldn’t feel this kind of pain just from lying face down to sleep. Could it be a tumor growing inside of me?” I felt so worried as I touched my chest.

While I was making wild guesses and getting worried whether I had some kind of illness, I suddenly felt something hard and wondered in bewilderment: “Oh no, what’s this!?” It felt as if there was something in my pocket, something that had been pressing on my chest the entire night, making it so painful. I dug into my pocket and pulled out an item…

It was a spoon!

I suddenly remembered: Because I had a feeling that the officer might want to inspect our personal items at any time, and I was afraid that my spoon might get stolen if I were to put it in the cupboard, I had put my spoon into my breast pocket to keep it safe. At that time, I felt that I would not lose it and was proud of myself. However, because that wasn’t my usual habit, I completely forgot about it after a short while, which is what led to this crazy “missing spoon” incident.

Later, I safely passed the inspection and let out a big sigh of relief, reflecting on how I managed to land myself in such an absurd situation. It felt like a test that God had put me through in order to determine whether I would follow the crowd and use various methods to avoid punishment or guard my integrity when facing a difficult situation. But ultimately, I passed God’s test, so He allowed me to find my spoon before the inspection and gave this situation a happy ending. 


Now, many years later, I am no longer young. However, I still tell this story to the youth following me from all over the world and say to them, “I have ultimately passed God’s test. All of you, too, no matter what happens, you must make God and God’s thoughts your utmost priority. Only then will God also make you His utmost priority and render help accordingly.”


About Author

Shinki is that IT Gig, that go to person for computer related issues.

In his spare time he runs, cycles, and exercise with the trinity in mind.