二○一八年七月二十八日／七月二十九日 Click here for English version
Devout, Sustained Ministry for God
Rev Gordon Siu
An old, renowned Bible scholar, who had written many Bible commentaries, was spending time closely studying God’s Word one day when his grandson quietly came into the room. Finding the old scholar at work, the little boy asked, "What are you reading, grandpa?" Without much thinking, the scholar replied, "News." The Scripture that he had been studying all his life was still captivating to him, and he made more and more discoveries day by day just like reading the news.
Time is the greatest test of faith and devotion. Many years into the spiritual journey, Christians often lose vigor or turn routine in their pursuit to know God and in serving. It is like a couple who are married for many years but who, not having nurtured their relationship, seem to lose interest in each other. They live together, but do not walk together. Similarly, routine church life sees the Christian going to church every week without looking forward to anything. He is not prepared to participate actively, nor is he ready for any response after the worship service. Routine ministry is one in which the Christian almost unwillingly makes work preparation to meet minimum requirements. No thought of what it is that God receives, or how the offering can be improved, ever crosses his mind. Every time, he "pays his dues" and rushes off to some other business. This way, some most meaningful ministry turns into an act of "attendance card punching" in which the most enjoyable time would be the close of play.
In the Old Testament, Caleb was devout all his life and his devotion was sustained. He not only set an example for elderly believers. His experience is also a testimony to all those who, with unstaggering faith, are prepared to get all the blessings promised by God. Aged 85, Caleb earnestly asked Joshua to allot him the land that God had promised him. "… You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, (this, however, did not make Caleb doubt his own capabilities) but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said" (Joshua 14:12). Caleb believed in the future bounty he had been promised, and so he was not afraid of the challenges surrounding him including his own infirmities. He only headed towards the promise of God. He was not satisfied with the current stability, but wanted to get all the blessings that God would give.
A devout and sustained effort to know and serve the Lord stems from an inner conviction of God's promises, and an understanding that God is pleased when we get all His rewards. "Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature… For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness…and to mutual affection, love" (2 Peter 1:4-7). This is not to say that we should force or exhaust ourselves, but we should be willing to take every opportunity to know God and pay the cost to train up ourselves to bear fruit. This is because we pursue spiritual and not worldly rewards. In various stages of life, we should often reflect on how we can give the best offering to God so our progress will not become stagnant, but we will strive to get all that the Lord has promised.
Caleb believed that God would give him the land of Hebron. And he followed the Lord wholeheartedly. At age 85, he was strong as ever and could have his strength renewed for war to take Hebron.