Pastoral Perspectives

A Day To Thank God For

2014 has yet to be filled with so much excitement, anticipation and anxiety for me until three things conspired to happen on the same Sunday. I saw it coming by Saturday and had hoped that all would turn out favourably. The first was the inaugural race for the new F1 season. So after service, I had my own little race to get home but alas, my driver had already withdrawn due to mechanical problem. The car he drove last season was faultless and gave him a record nine consecutive race wins. Many lamented that he would race away with the championship again and so changes were made to the rules and regulations, which some believe are being put in place to slow him down. Sad to say, it seemed to have worked. Nevertheless I told myself that it was okay as it was only the first race and there are enough to overcome the setback.

The second happened after dinner. It was a big game between two big clubs, the kind that could turn friends into foes and tear families apart. And so the first heartbreak came when I was walking my dog and suddenly the neighbourhood broke into cheers. Past encounters warned me that this couldn’t be good and true enough I found out that my team had conceded a goal. Nevertheless I told myself that it was ok as it was still early in the game. Sad to say, things only got worse. Last season my team won the championship for a record 20 league titles. Many however warned that it would be different this season as a different Scot is calling the shots now. Sad to say, they were right and there are not many games left to overcome the deficit.

So it was left to the third thing to make my Sunday bearable. However due to different time zone, it would not happen until early next morning. And so it was that the first thing I did after waking up was to check the result. Alas, my player had lost the final set tie-break and hence the championship. No one expected him to do well after a poor season last year but he proved them wrong by winning a title a couple of weeks ago. Sad to say, the player whom he had beaten during that tournament got his revenge. Nevertheless I told myself that with his current form and fitness, he might actually win one more Slam.

So here are the three big things that got me excited for one Sunday and only to be disappointed at the end of it. But what has it got to do with a perspective? Actually there are many lessons to be learned. First it shows that your pastor here is also human. Yes, I do have my favourite team, player or driver and I can be passionate about it. But our passions can sometimes get us into all sorts of situations. I remember a posting I made on FB after my team lost again. It was a 4-word phrase with a pun in it. Shortly after, I received a PM from a dear brother telling me how he felt about my posting, which sounded like a rebuke to me. So I thanked him for his feedback, deleted it and only for him to reply that he found it funny. He was actually worried for my sanity! I did not know whether to laugh or to cry. Well, I guess miscommunication can happen when passion kicks in. Thankfully, this incident didn’t cause any unpleasant outcome. Sometimes it may not be so, especially when it is fuelled by anger or filled with sarcasm and cause hurt or offence as a result.  Therefore, do not let passion blinds us but be watchful with what we post or say.

Failure is the other lesson. We can fail for various reasons. Sometimes we fail because of external factors, like how others may be jealous of us and so conspire to make things difficult for us. Sometimes we fail because of internal factors, like having a new boss, colleague or structure and things aren’t quite the same anymore. Sometimes we fail because of natural factor, i.e. someone is simply better than us. And so we fail. Well, I learn from the F1 race that there are always opportunities for us to try again should we stumble. There will be obstacles along our path, whether it is kingdom work, study or career. It is never too late as long as we lift up our heads, give our best and trust God for the rest. I learn from the soccer match that there are times when the failure shows us that we need to re-evaluate, re-organize or re-invent ourselves because things have changed and our old practices or systems are not adequate or relevant anymore. It is not a shame to admit such failures as long as we do not cast blame on others but work together to move on for future good. I learn from the tennis game that there are times when we can rejoice even in failures because we have given our dignified best and people recognize it and applaud us for our effort and commitment.

Finally, I learn that when we are caught up in our passions, we may actually miss out on other things that are more precious, urgent or important to us or those around us. What do I mean? Well, that Sunday was also the day that it finally rained like nobody’s business. Normally, we pray and hope that rain will not come and disrupt our plans. But this time round, I believe many wouldn’t mind. So what if my Sunday was filled with disappointment because my driver, team and player had all lost. On any other day, I might have grieved. But on that Sunday, I thanked God for the rain. Did you?

Pastor Ronnie

March 30, 2014