Two events at the end of last year impacted my discipleship journey. The first was a concert on Handel’s Messiah and the second, a visit to the Gardens by the Bay. You might wonder what these two things have in common. Let me explain.
At the Handel’s Messiah, the part that grabbed me most was the sufferings of Christ. Handel, inspired by God to write this marvelous oratorio, focused on the passion of Christ at great length. The coming of the Messiah was predicted hundreds of years before: He came as a lowly baby, went to the cross, was despised and utterly abandoned by His beloved Father, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” – was powerful. The people then and now, can never truly understand why the Messiah was born in a stable, laid in a crib among the animals and died like a common criminal. Why did God allow His beloved Son to become mortal and suffer such a cruel death? Jesus was compelled by His love for mankind and there was no other way whereby we could be saved – “amazing love how can it be that Thou my God should die for me”!
In the Gardens by the Bay we saw magnificent and exquisite plants, flowers, scrubs and trees from all over the world. Their varieties, intricacies, colours and patterns were mind-boggling. No two leaves are the same (just like our thumb print)! What an awesome Designer who created everything with great love, care, detail and precision. He made all these for our enjoyment! We were blown away by God’s marvelous creation! Imagine how much more beautiful the Garden of Eden would have been!
Both Handel’s Messiah, depicting God’s sacrificial love, and the intricate creation of flora and vegetation, reminded me of God’s amazing love and awesome creation for me!
As God’s dearly beloved child, I thank Him for paying such an enormous price for my salvation and for creating all things for my pleasure and enjoyment – “To God be the glory for the things He has done”!
As I revel in His great salvation and enjoy His magnificent creation, I must be a good steward of these gifts. I cannot keep them for myself but must share them with others. I must testify of His grace to my fellow disciples and His amazing love to those who still do not know Him. I must also remember that suffering is part of discipleship. Like Paul, I must say, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death….” (Philippians 3:10). Like Peter, I must follow in the steps of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21) and in the words of James, “consider it pure joy…when [I] you face trials of many kinds, because… [my] your faith develops perseverance…” (James 1:2-3).
As I enjoy God’s bounteous provisions, whether it be food, clothing or other delights from His creation, may I continue to be a good steward and make sure that I teach others to take care of God’s earth and not to exploit or deify it (make it God), but to tend it, conserve it and develop its resources.
May I always be grateful to my awesome Creator and loving Saviour who has freely given me all things to enjoy. May I seize every opportunity to share His love with those who still do not know Him, even if it costs me great inconvenience, ridicule, suffering or shame.
By Dr Violet James, Deaconness (YCKC Bulletin 25&26 January 2014)