During a vacation at a hill resort recently, we sat at the verandah at night looking out at the wide expanse before us. One particular scene we enjoyed was the clusters of beautifully lighted residences and tall skyscrapers on the hillock opposite. It led me to think of the important role Jesus has given to His disciples when He said: “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16,CEB). This message must be taken to heart by all disciples, for it comes from our Lord, the Light of the world (John 8:12).
Jesus said two things would happen when we shine our light. First, people “will see the good things you do”. These works done in obedience to the living God, include our character, our actions, and our spoken testimony. The disciple’s life can bear witness to Christ, not because he is good but because God’s power is at work in him. Second, people will “praise the Father who is in heaven”. God gets the credit when people recognize His work of grace in our lives. Our Lord expects us to shine for Him wherever He has placed us … in our neighbourhood, schools and work places and among our friends.
As a church, we are very conscious that the Lord has planted us in this part of Singapore. Our witness for Him began in the “Chia Keng Village”. For Gospel Hall, it traces back to the 1930s; for Chapel to the 1950s. Our pioneers were mindful of reaching out to people in the neighbourhood. Today, while we have moved about 1 km north of the original site, we are still in the same vicinity. The residential areas around Serangoon North, Hougang and Serangoon (including the old Chia Keng village) are our immediate neighbours. In the early days, attap houses were scattered amidst the coconut plantations and a variety of fruit trees. Today, this whole area is well built up with HDB flats, private condominiums and some landed properties. We can rejoice that while the Lord has provided us a wonderful place of worship, He has also brought many into this neighbourhood. The church must shine for Jesus in this neighbourhood.
We have intentionally registered a society called Bless Community Services (BCS) to be used as the platform for outreach to the community. As the name suggests, we seek to be a blessing to people around us. While we are expected to shine for Jesus individually, there is an important place where members of the church come together collectively to serve. There will be opportunities to serve as volunteers through our Seniors Connect, Youth Connect and Community Connect. The Seniors Connect is now established through our partnership with St Luke’s Eldercare @ Serangoon. Today, we have a regular team of volunteers visiting and bringing joy to the clients of SLEC. The Community Connect is gradually taking shape, with the Legal Clinic and Counselling services being introduced. In addition, during a recent “go-out day”, members were given the opportunity to introduce ourselves to our neighbours.
We are now prayerfully considering relevant programmes of interest that can be introduced to residents in this neighbourhood. As for our Youth Connect, research is being undertaken on possible avenues that will provide opportunities to reach youths.
BCS will provide the platform. And it is critical that church members make use of the platform to build bridges of friendship with people in our area. Through these contacts, we are praying that doors will be opened for us to show deeds of everyday kindness. This may mean going out of our way to help a friend. It will probably cost some money and time. But we do so in order that the light of Jesus will shine through.
Disciples of Jesus are called to make a difference. We will not be able to do everything. Neither can we reach the whole world. But we can certainly begin right here. The Lord has planted us in this neighbourhood and He expects us to shine for Him.
By Ps David Yap (YCKC Bulletin 29&30 August 2015) Chairman, Bless Community Services