Earlier this year, I had the opportunity of visiting a group of Christians in central China. The region I visited is one of the poorest where the average daily wage is just USD$1-2. But amazingly, what I saw was a church that was growing in faith, mission and works.
9% of the city population of 11 million were professing Christians. Some surrounding villages, comprising 300-400 villagers, were entirely Christian. The main church had started a community hospital in an adjacent plot of land and ran mobile clinics to care for the HIV patients in their midst who were the result of a tainted blood donation programme many years ago. They also ran services to care for the “Left Behind Children” – children left in the care of their grandparents so that the parents could go to the major cities or overseas to find work. Many of the children had become delinquents with behavioural issues.
But the Christians I met were not super-men or women. They were in fact ordinary people whose daily grind of abject poverty and harsh conditions made life very hard indeed.
But what they clung onto was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and looked forward to the time when He would come for them. In the meantime, they were simply being obedient to His Word. On the walls of many of the small village churches, I saw written in Chinese the phrase “Be salt and light”. This is taken from Matthew 5:13-14. And Jesus also reminds us in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”.
“Sunday’s worship is tested by Monday’s life”, says Pastor John Piper. “The authenticity of worship in church must prove itself in how we spread the praise of God outside the church building”.
Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our example. “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” Matthew 4:23. Jesus did not just care about the spiritual needs of those around Him; He also went out to meet their physical needs.
If we were to truly dissect and diagnose our Mondays, would we find ourselves busied with struggles for possessions, power or position? If the roles were reversed and someone from that region of China came to visit Singapore, what would he or she write about in their local church bulletin?
May our worship inside YCK Chapel today translate into obedience and be authenticated by lovingkindness and good works outside.
By Dr David Loh (YCKC Bulletin 25&26 June 2016)