On the Sunday I was appointed Elder, two innocent questions by my son Benjamin brought into clear focus the stance that I should always adopt.
The first question was, “Daddy, are you elderly?” Liok-Peng and I laughed at the innocent language errors that all children make and patiently explained the differences between the words “elder” and “elderly”. Yet, as I pondered more about this question in the hours following my appointment, I came to see through God’s revelation that this was His intentional question for me.
We associate the elderly among us as those who are physically weaker, and hence needing more help. This message is not only drummed into us on public transport, but as a nation, there is an inexorable move towards providing for the aging population. Yet a stance of weakness and dependency is something that God wants us to adopt constantly. This is not an issue of physical weakness but a posture of dependency. Paul wrote in 2 Cor 12:10 – “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” And this is because God’s power is made perfect in my weakness (adapted from 2 Cor 12:9).
It is only when I am totally dependent on His strength and direction that His greatness and His great works can be accomplished. I await His further revelation as to how I can translate this stance of weakness into my routine and plans.
The second question was a set of two questions. It started off with, “Daddy, what is a Deacon?” “The meaning of the word ‘deacon’ is ‘servant’,” I mindlessly answered as the worship leader started the call to worship. “Why are you not a servant,” asked my innocent boy. “Erm … But an Elder is also a servant,” I mumbled. As I answered this question, thoughts flowed through my mind and I realised that this too, was God’s intentional question for me.
As I busy myself with Elder duties and work in the hospital heading a department, will I forget that after all, I am still called to follow my Lord’s example to be a servant? Will I prioritise big plans over the needs of the individual elderly, the needy, the weak and infirmed? Will I sacrifice visiting someone ill to attend a meeting that will further a program? Please pray for us, your servant-leaders in the church that we will walk with our Lord Jesus so closely that our priorities reflect His priorities, our desires His desires. Just as our Lord came to serve and not to be served (Matt 20:28), our appointments are also calls to serve and not to be served.
Paul wrote in 2 Cor 3:18 that we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” as we behold the glory of the Lord.
Ever wonder what is the finished product? Undoubtedly, elderly servants are what we will become. Brothers and sisters, are you one already? I am not. Let us journey together towards that goal.
By Ong Kiat Hoe, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 8&9 November 2014)