We have much to be thankful for the last 50 years of nation-building in Singapore and the religious freedom we had enjoyed. In the next 50 years, Singapore is going to have to re-think and re-do many things, even strategies that were successful before. Living in an intensively competitive world, we will have to continue to innovate and outrun others to stay ahead.
But in the midst of all these, let all believers not forget the urgent and important parting words of our Lord Jesus Christ – the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20). As the demands on the individual’s time and energies will be great, the need to prioritize wisely the most urgent and important of all tasks and to stay focused to keep it on the highest priority, is critical.
The Church in Singapore has come a long way since its early years. Today, around 18% of Singapore’s residents are Christians, but that also means that 82% are not!
Earlier this year, I had a morbid dream. It was a scene of an old-style Chinese funeral on the sending off day.
The heavily wooded, oversized, old Chinese-style casket had just been closed and the casket bearers were putting the heavy carrying poles through the thick ropes holding the casket. The poles were going through the last rope holder when I was suddenly awakened. It was a frightening scene!
Perplexed, I questioned if it was a random dream or if there was a message from the Lord. And if yes, what the message was. I tossed in bed pondering, half concerned that something bad was about to come upon me (or worse, my loved ones!). Then the Lord impressed upon me His message. The dream was a reminder that life is short and we are drawing nearer to the Day each day. Therefore, it is critical to stay focused and to prioritize doing the most urgent and important tasks.
For me, that meant:
- Being even more focused on my calling – as a disciple of Christ, as head of my household, as a worker, a man-in-ministry and a friend.
- Be ready to go where He has planned for me (Jer 29:11). Trusting that the Lord will provide more than sufficiently through it all.
- Stay tightly close and abiding in Him always, no straying away (John 15:5).
- During paths of tough challenges when the Lord seems quiet and distanced, do not despair, persevere on clinging upon His promises that He will never leave nor forsake me (Deut 31:6).
As we look forward to the next 50 years of nation-building, how high a priority will the Great Commission, the call to make disciples, feature in our lives and in the church?
How do we pray more fervently for our pre-believing loved ones and prioritize regular time to connect and reach out to them? In a year, how big a portion of resource, time and energy will each member in YCKC invest to go out, connect and reach out to the 82% pre-believers living in our immediate neighbourhood? In the midst of joyous Jubilee celebrations, have we allowed ourselves to be caught up with a false sense of security and hope about the future? We are drawing nearer to the Day. From what the Lord has blessed us with, are we prepared for accountability to Him? Do we look forward to it? At SG100, will the Singaporean church be commended for prioritizing the Great Commission? Wouldn’t there be much rejoicing if the statistics in Singapore then (or earlier) flip the other way round? Happy Jubilee!
By Sam Tan, Deacon (YCKC Bulletin 8&9 August 2015)