Chinese New Year (CNY) is here again! At this time of the year, we visit or catch up with our relatives and friends, some of whom we may interact with only once or twice a year.
CNY also offers great opportunities for us to be the salt and light of the world to those we meet. We could be God’s channels of blessing to the people around us. As salt of the earth, we could bring healing and give a taste of God’s goodness to others. As light of the world, we could reflect God’s beauty and goodness, and bring love, joy, peace and reconciliation to them.
But how can we be the salt and light of the world during CNY? This is how my wife and I do it.
1. We start the day by worshipping, praying and asking God for open doors and opportunities.
2. As we interact with people, we remind ourselves to be gentle and respectful. There could be generational gaps but we need to be patient and responsive. We ask questions to show that we are listening and interested.
3. We listen patiently and attentively. We let the other person talk and share his or her life or family stories, joys, pains, fears, anxieties, etc. with us. He or she may be long-winded and repetitive. But we remind ourselves to be compassionate and kind. We may be the only few people he or she meets who are willing to listen.
4. After listening, we respond positively:
a) We start by showing empathy and understanding.
b) We offer help if we can or refer them to people who are able to help.
c) We give comfort and hope.
d) We help the person to count his or her blessings. We share similar experiences from our own life or from the lives of others, if any. We show how Jesus has helped us or others face and go through similar ordeals or difficult situations.
e) We follow up with prayers, further contact and practical help.
5. If we are in a group, we listen to their conversations. The topics could be health issues, money issues, relationship issues, current events, complaints about Government policies, and gossip. We look for opportunities to help people to see things from God’s goodness and perspective, count their blessings, and to share our testimonies. People like to listen to a good life story. If there are non-believers present, we look for opportunities to share the Gospel in a non-threatening way. We ask life’s basic questions, like “What is our life’s purpose?” or “How happy or contented are we in our lives?” and share life-changing stories or personal testimonies.
6. At the close of the day, we thank God for blessing us with the open doors. We pray for opportunities for follow up. We may not always see results but there have been some positive ones – strained relationships healed, suicidal thoughts cast off, hope gained, life becoming more meaningful and purposeful, etc. Whether we see results or not, it does not matter. We remain faithful and steadfast in our sowing, watering and harvesting of His word, as led by His Spirit. God will bring forth fruit in His way and time – in accordance to His perfect will and purpose. In every case, we thank God for the opportunities to be the salt and light of the world to the people we meet. We are blessed when we bless others. To Him be all the glory!
Have a blessed and joyous Chinese New Year!
By brother Lim Han Soon