Chaff People

B.J. Funk

B.J. Funk

By B.J. Funk –

It may be that a Chaff Person sits on your pew at church. She wears the same kind of clothes you wear. He can quote the Apostles’ Creed and Lord’s Prayer without blinking. He also knows most of the hymns and always has his offering envelope ready when the plate passes by. She is not opposed to a sermon that makes her think, but prefers to leave church satisfied and happy, instead of curious and introspective. The preacher can throw out a bone for him to gnaw on and discuss with the family at dinner, but most likely he will decide to leave that bone at the door.

Chaff is wheat’s useless outer shell. In Bible times, this shell was removed in order to get at the valuable kernels of grain inside. To remove the chaff, the wheat went through a process called threshing. First, the plants were cut, then crushed, and the pieces were thrown into the air. Chaff is light and was carried away by even the slightest wind. The good grain fell back to the earth.

I used to be a Chaff Person – similar to a useless outer shell. Like many in our churches, I didn’t even know it. My outer shell remained clean and polished as I lived what I thought was an exemplary Christian life. I kept the traditions of my family by attending Sunday school and church. Singing in the choir, serving on committees, and heading up a ministry to the poor, I was a good church person!

After ten years of marriage and two adorable sons, I wilted when my husband questioned his love for me. He thought he was in love with another woman. How could this happen to our happy marriage? Satan slipped silently through an open window that we both thought the other had closed.

I was devastated. As rejection burned through my heart, I realized my Christian faith had no depth. Years of happy Methodist Youth Fellowship meetings and cheerful gatherings with my church friends at “Afterglow” had not prepared me for the days ahead. I had no idea what to do.  I had been in church all of my life, but no comforting Bible verses sprang into my heart. Why did I feel so lonely, so out of touch with God, so desperate? So completely forsaken and all alone. Hopeless.

That’s when I realized I had been a Chaff Person! I moved through life thinking I was a good Christian; however, when tragedy struck, I realized, instead, that I had only been a good church person. I had nothing to hold on to. However, God was in the process of doing the kindest thing He could do for me. He loved me enough to crush me, blow away my useless chaff, and begin a deeper work. I became hungrier for God’s Word and eventually excited about this new walk. My marriage ended, but the Holy Spirit became my intimate friend and guide. Though awful, humiliating, and painfully embarrassing, I would go through it again in order to find the kernel of grain in me that yearned to know God better.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “Naturally, a man regards his right to himself as the finest thing he has. Yet it is the last bridge that prevents Jesus Christ having his way in that life. My right to myself is not merely something I claim, but something that continually makes me insist on my own way. We do not object to being delivered from sin, but we do not intend to give up the right to ourselves.”

Redeemed Chaff people continue to have the same propensity to sin. I noticed that in me just five minutes ago. However, I do not have to succumb to sin’s pull. Nothing is worth losing that God-blessed kernel that keeps me always wanting more of him.

Take away our useless, outer shell, Oh Lord. Make our kernels explode with dynamic, new growth for you. Save us from being only a good church person. We ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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  1. It is so refreshing to read BJ’s messages; there we discover encouragement, hope, and fresh new insight.

  2. Paulette Eastman says

    Bj is truly an asset to Good News. She always writes article that are profound and provocative yet in laymen terms so that all can understand and relate. Her words flow from her but it is clear that they are sent to her from God..

  3. I am a chaff person in recovery. I thought I had it all together and was doing church to a fare the well. I sensed something was missing–what I now know is holy discontent/sacred thirst–but did not act on it until a series of events, which included things going south for me at church, left me feeling lost broken and confused. It was not until I distanced myself from all things church and went on a quest for “something”. Turns out that elusive “something” was clear teaching about who the triune God is and who I am and all that God has done for my benefit. All of a sudden I was folded into God’s amazing story of salvation; the Bible started making sense; for the first time in my life I was standing in the wide open space of God’s amazing grace; but I have been left wondering why I had not been taught these things before; I received answers to questions that I never realized existed. There was one catch for this life long Methodist, though: the teaching came at the hands of a group of Calvinist through the Heidelberg Catechism and three modern books about it; there was absolutely nothing comparable from within the UMC/Wesleyan fold. I am back in the Wesleyan fold after I stumbled into and the Daily Text with its weekly spiritual inventory and fast. I no longer know what to do about institutional church beyond keeping up the habit of Sunday morning worship.

  4. Back in 2009, Nov. – Dec, you wrote a similar article for Good News entitled “Dancing in the Furnace” about Christmas letters and how you would respond to the boys absence of their father. Then you wrote an article for the So. Ga. Advocate about June of 2010 entitled “The Carpenter” and how the carpenter uses sandpaper to shape and mold your life. These articles and this one about “Chaff People” are very similar in scope, depth, and God working in your life. Your articles are very instructive and I have used two of them in teaching a Sunday School class as applicable to the lesson purposes near the time of their publication. Just wanted you to know that Jesus offered this parable to his disciples after meeting the woman at the well – – – ” I sent you to reap where you did not sow, others did the work but you reaped the harvest.” Many people, beside myself, have reaped a harvest from your articles, ministry, and witness through this medium of written words.

  5. Excellent post! We will be linking to this great
    content on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    • Dear Roger, you wrote the above a long time ago and I just tonight stumbled on it. I really had no idea there was a place for people to write me when they read my articles. I am very grateful for your kind words of encouragement. It means so much to me that you refer back to other articles I have written. You have just made my day. Blessings and thank you so much. Just so sorry I didn’t know you had written until a year later.

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