Pastoral Perspectives

Which Department Are You From?

It seems the perspective of our working lives is compartmentalized to the departments we have been assigned. There is even some form of rivalry as the best department may get a special bonus. It is evident in our same department we would like to outshine others to show that perhaps we are the best of the best which becomes a stepping stone for promotion. In the right context and perspective, there is nothing wrong in giving a good testimony for the Lord and being recognized later for the good work done. However, which department we are working for is not the true reflection of our dedicated service. All are work for the same company and not just for the department; if so, then we will be like the proverbial frog in the well. Our vision of working life becomes very narrow with a one track mind. We would be blinded to a point of not seeing the big picture.

This past week we mourn the passing on of our country’s founding father Mr. Lee Kuan Yew; and here we learned the lesson of his devotion with his fellow ministers to build Singapore from its humble beginnings to a global city and nation Singapore. I would like to think that those in his team would not ask each other which ministry they were from, because the late Mr. Lee and the ministers worked for one “department” only which is for Singapore.

This should be our perspective in understanding the example of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ). Each part has its own duty but every movement, thought or speech is synchronized. All are working together to manifest Christ.  It would be an understatement if we were to say the parts co-operate, because the  body responses and acts in a seamless and spontaneous action.

In our church, each pillar has its role but what is the outcome or the finality? Where are our efforts and endeavours empowering us in the end?  The outcome or finality would be in the Great Commission to go; and not “go stun” (go astern). The Gospel and the Church’s perspective are in Missions. All the work we have done is for the body of Christ to move into some uncharted territory where Christ is not known. Everything in our church lives or pillars have one purpose and that is to get prepared to participate in proclaiming the Gospel. Each pillar works in tandem and not independently for the Gospel to be spread. If you can visualize the body of Christ just sitting and be self-edifying, self- engaging and self- empowering, it can be liken to the Dead Sea in Israel; that receives the waters but it does not flow out. Because it does not give out living waters to others, it gets choke, suffocates and dies-the Dead Sea. The body of Christ can die with just her programmes, activities or service if her true mission is not realized. Living waters must flow from the Church into the harvest field. Every Sunday school teacher imparts life giving knowledge to the students, who in-turns absorbs and learns to be equip and prepare for a role in the future. Worship teams doing likewise and like all others are getting prepared to be on the move.  At the micro level, as things get moving, the DG would multiply and at the macro level it speaks for the church in a similar fashion to Church plant in missions. All have been trained and must be prepared to go.

Finally we all agree that we have to work together for the Lord, all gearing up to ensure the symbiotic role we have for the Gospel. Then like in a Lamborghini factory, each component or parts are assembled. For sure this Lamborghini exceeds the previous model in terms of styling, and it exudes elegance. Later it finds its way to the showroom and it truly catches the eye and admired by all. Orders come in like the speed of car reaching 100km in 3.29secs.  It was a masterpiece beyond description. However, a man who saved money all his life to buy this Lamborghini became extremely disappointed. Everyone there was confused. The man said the factory did not put an engine in the car and how was he to drive it? Churches can be like that with all the “rah-rah”, hip, glamourous activity or programme cantered with all its splendour on the outside, but it the inside it is hallow and cannot move to fulfill the GC. So, it is not just enough to build a car, but it needs an engine to be driven. A car is built for a purpose and therefore from this analogy the existence of a Church has also its divine purpose. The engine of the Church is the love of God in us, which we have seen and experienced when Christ was sent to save the world (John 3:16). This is what controls and compels us (2 Cor. 5:14) to fulfill his will to be done on earth.

One man’s vision became a reality for Singaporeans and so what then should be the vision of the Church? Let us lift up our eyes to see what Jesus saw to capture his vision when he said “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (Luke 10:2).

Rev Eddie Chandra

March 29, 2015