The song, “This world is not my home …”, reminds me not to get too comfortable on this earth lest I build my roots too deep and find it difficult to uproot when called to do so.
As I reflected on my call and ministry these past forty-five years, I am deeply humbled. My journey of faith began when I answered the call to serve the Lord Jesus in 1969. This led to a four-year theological education at SBC, followed by a year of service with Scripture Union and part-time teaching at SBC. During this year, my Academic Dean encouraged me to consider further studies with the intention of returning to teach full-time at SBC. The Lord enabled me to go to America to study for three years. I returned in 1978 to teach at SBC, where I have been serving ever since. Everything that has happened is only by His grace and mercies. He sustained and upheld me through good times and hard times. He inspired and motivated me when I felt like giving up because the journey was hard and the challenges were great. But His grace and mercy compelled me to hold fast to God and His calling.
God never once forsook or short-changed me. As He promised, His grace was always sufficient for all my needs; His strength was made perfect in my weak body; His mercies were new every day; His faithful presence was my constant companion; and His Word, my secure foundation. I never lacked any good thing because He was my Jehovah Jireh – providing not only my physical needs but also my emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs! As a “jar of clay” in the Potter’s hand, I saw Him molding, shaping, reshaping, breaking and creating something beautiful out of this ugly lump of clay. What has never ceased to amaze me is that despite my ordinariness and my limitations, He entrusted me with a ‘treasure’ – the Gospel – to proclaim and bring hope to those who are broken, alienated and lost. As His ambassador, I continue to carry this ‘treasure’ in my frail and broken body, declaring the good news of peace, hope, joy and reconciliation. I will never exchange this ‘treasure’ for anything this world can offer. Through these years I have been given wonderful opportunities to represent Him and to declare His glory among the nations – an amazing privilege and awesome responsibility and all because of His grace!
Many of you may not know that when I was in SBC as a student, my desire was to become a missionary and serve in a cross-cultural setting. But God had other plans for me. In His wisdom, God wanted me to invest my life in students so that they can go to the far corners of the earth and take this “treasure” in their “jars of clay” and be a blessing to other nations. Today there are over twenty-five nations represented in SBC, even a student from Ukraine! Had I insisted on my own way, I would never have had the opportunity of meeting and equipping hundreds of students from the different continents who in turn have enriched my life and ministry.
Our sovereign God knows all things and He orchestrated my life in ways I can never comprehend, all because of His grace and mercy!
Whether we serve in Singapore or abroad, in a Christian organization, church or market place, we are called to “live the gospel and make disciples to reach the world for Christ”. This is our mission and we must urgently seize the opportunities and discharge the debt we owe to Christ who secured our salvation at a great price and waits to welcome us into our eternal home. Until that day, as Christ’s ambassadors, may we proclaim the message of reconciliation, live as pilgrims on this journey of faith, enabling new believers to feel at home in their new found faith and yet recognizing that this world is not our home!
By Violet James, Deaconness (YCKC Bulletin 23&24 August 2014)