“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27
Pastor Timothy, I need your advice.” Nathaniel’s furrowed brow revealed his concern. “The nurses from the Seventh-day Adventist hospital in Atoifi are holding a clinic here in Kwaibaita. You’ve often warned about Adventists’ misguided doctrines. Is it safe to go to their clinic?”
Pastor Timothy thought carefully before replying. As a pastor and the paramount chief of the entire Kwaibaita district, he was well respected by the people of his community in the Solomon Islands.
“We do need medical care here in the village,” he admitted. “You can accept the Adventists’ medications, but don’t listen to their teachings. If they tell you anything about the Bible or the church, just ignore it.”
After Nathaniel left, Pastor Timothy felt a pang of guilt. In 20 years as a pastor, I’ve found some texts in the Bible that make me wonder if the Adventists are right about some things. Take the fourth commandment, for example . . . .
He quickly shoved that thought out of his head. What would his church members think if he suddenly changed his mind about Adventists and their teachings?
“We have a lot of work to do in the garden this morning,” Pastor Timothy said to his wife and their 10-year-old son, Bofanta, one September day in 1990. It was a Sabbath morning, but that did not bother Pastor Timothy, since he did not believe that Saturday was the Sabbath. “The taro plot will be full of weeds after all the rain we’ve had.”
The three of them walked down the path away from the village. Pastor Timothy paused to open the gate of the cow pasture they had to cross to reach their garden gate.
As they neared the other side of the enclosure, his wife spoke up. “Look at how all the cows have lined up facing us. It’s almost as if they’re trying to block our way.”
“They look like soldiers on parade,” said Pastor Timothy with a laugh. “I suppose they’ll move when we get closer.”
But the cows didn’t move. Odd, he thought. I guess we’ll have to go around them.
At the end of the line stood a large, muscular bull that seemed to be staring straight at them. As the family approached, the bull suddenly spoke in the Kwaibaita language.
“Why are you going to the garden now? Don’t you know that today is the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord God?”
Pastor Timothy’s jaw dropped. “Did you hear that?” he croaked to his wife.
“I—I think the bull just talked!” she whispered hoarsely.
Pastor Timothy looked around, certain that he must have been mistaken. No one else was in sight.
Then he heard the voice again. “Timothy!” His head swiveled toward the bull. “Timothy, I’m speaking to you!”
Yes, the sound was coming from the animal. Its mouth was even moving as it talked.
“Th-there must be a devil in you to make you talk like that,” Pastor Timothy said, his voice trembling.
“I am not the devil,” the bull replied. “I’m the voice of Jesus talking to you.”
Pastor Timothy really paid attention then! The bull went on: “Today is the Sabbath of God. Don’t you know that God gave you six days to work, and the seventh day is the Sabbath? You have been a pastor, and yet you don’t know these things? How blind can you be?”
He’s right, Pastor Timothy thought. I’ve been refusing to believe the truth all this time.
But the bull was not finished. “You must not work in your garden today. Go home and read Jeremiah 1:5. Share it with your people. Then look for a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, Pastor Bata. He will further explain these things to you.”
This story was reprinted from KidsView, June 2011.