Serving Christ as a Chimney Sweep

“It is enough for the disciple to be like his
teacher, and the servant like his master.”
Matthew 10:25

At age seventeen, Peter Torjesen (1892-1939) signed his life away. During a church service in his native Norway, he listened to a passionate missionary talk about China. Following the sermon, an offering was received. His daughter later wrote, “He opened his wallet and poured out all the money in it. Then he realized he had to offer more than money, and found a piece of paper and wrote three words Og mit liv (‘And my life’).”

“The man who counted the collection that day,” writes Kari Torjesen Malcom, “was Peter’s Sunday school teacher. Immediately recognizing the handwriting, he decided to keep the note to see what would happen with this unusual promise.”

Torjesen kept his promise. Eventually, he served effectively in China with his childhood sweetheart, Valborg. However, his life was cut short in 1939, when Japan bombed China; his wife remained to serve.

It is often the case with many God-called servants in ministry:  Peter enjoyed a godly heritage; his parents were devout Christians. His father Torleif was employed as a chimney sweep in Kristiansand. And interestingly enough, he was “expected to read Scripture and pray in each home where he came to take care of a chimney.” His granddaughter remarks, “So he was a chimney sweep that could also sweep the souls of his clients.”

Upon interviewing one of Torleif’s clients years later, the elderly woman said to Kari, “It was like peace came to the house when Torleif came. He would always conduct a prayer service in each home where he swept the chimney.” Peter once wrote of his parents, “My parents were missionary-minded, and I got the impression from my childhood that to be a missionary was the greatest thing anyone could want to be.”*

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, our Lord gave to China one of his devout servants. That servant was influenced by godly parents, with a father who served Christ as a chimney sweep.

*Kari Torjesen Malcolm, We Signed Our Lives Away (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Press, 1990), 23-24.

Taken from . . .
Renewed by the Spirit: 365 Daily Meditations
by Ralph I. Tilley
copyright © 2016 Ralph I. Tilley
(May be copied for noncommercial purposes;
not to exceed 500 copies.)


Author: Ralph I. Tilley

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.” You can read more on the About page.