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Seminary Holds Korean Chapel

January 4, 2023

On Dec. 16, 51 Korean students at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, participated in a worship service with their families. About 70 people were in attendance.

They were led by Jeong Gho, a missionary with Resonate Global Mission who serves in Japan and who will be providing Timothy Leadership Training to Korean CTS students in January. His message, based on Matthew 25:14-30 (Jesus’ parable of the talents), gave the students comfort and encouragement.

“After the semester, students are not only physically and mentally exhausted, but they might also be feeling regret for not doing better during the semester,” said Gho, who graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary 40 years ago and said he understands what they are going through. “I prepared a message hoping that it would help students hear the voice of the Lord telling them, ‘You did well during the last semester, good and loyal servant!'”

Recalling his own seminary days, Gho shared an anecdote about how one of his professors placed graded papers in his mailbox for students to pick up at the end of the semester. Since there was no lock on the mailbox, and all of the boxes were next to each other, students could glance at other people’s grades as they found their own. Gho said that while he had worked hard that semester, he found himself feeling frustrated that his grade was worse than others.

“The servant with five talents and the servant with two talents did not care how many talents they received. As soon as they received it, they immediately went out and did their best in business,” said Gho as he connected his anecdote to the parable in Scripture.

The servant who received one talent, on the other hand, did nothing, said Gho. Instead that servant made excuses, saying he was afraid of disappointing the owner. Yet, Gho argued, if that were true and the servant was really concerned about the owner, wouldn’t he want to work hard to make up for the deficiency of talents he had received? Wouldn't not doing anything mean ignoring the owner and causing greater disappointment?

“God knows best how many talents he has entrusted to us,” said Gho. “There is no need to compare yourself with others.”

Pastor Yohwan Lee, a Th.M. student who is serving as president of the Korean Student Association, said that he was comforted by this message.

“Instead of blaming ourselves and feeling guilty for not doing better, we should believe that it is enough to live diligently, using what the Lord has given us, and to obey our calling,” he said.

Gho said that when he was an M.Div. student at CTS, there were only a few Korean students in attendance. Today there are 51 Korean students at Calvin Theological Seminary, including Gho’s daughter. This number amounts to 20 percent of the student body.

Gho said that even when the numbers were smaller 40 years ago, it was comforting to gather together to pray. Seeing so many Korean students working toward various degrees today is yet another testament to God's faithfulness, he said.

Gho concluded, “Proverbs 19:21 says that ‘Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ When I was a seminarian, I was afraid and anxious because I couldn’t see the future, but when I look back, I realize that God had a good plan. I hope you trust in the Lord, who has a good plan for you, and diligently do the mission given to you so that you can hear [the Master’s] praises ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ at the final finish line.”