二○二○年五月二日／五月三日 Click here for English version
A Life of Thanksgiving
Rev Arnold Chow
Let us continue our discussion on a life of thanksgiving.
I recently revisited the book "All is Grace." Rev Philip Teng, who led NPAC for 30 years (from 1957-1987), exemplifies the lives of those who give thanks in all circumstances.
Pray continually: Thanks be to God, Rev Teng had been saved from death several times during his lifetime. The first year in senior high, he had pleurisy. He was carried to the hospital and his back hurt so much that he had to lie down on the floor. He wrote: "It was then that a miracle happened. On examination, the doctor told me I had already recovered and that I was good to leave. I returned to the camp immediately. The next day, I could already play basketball." He later learned that many brothers and sisters were praying earnestly for him. At age 19, he had cultivated the good habit of prayer, attending weekly prayer meetings regularly.
Display no false modesty: With many gifts and talents, Rev Teng had nevertheless often prayed for God’s help in overcoming his low self-esteem. He learned to rely on God to overcome all obstacles. Meanwhile, he would not display false modesty by avoiding to talk about the achievements of his life. He would factually mention the fruits of his ministries after taking full responsibility of them. He often gave thanks for his health because it was what enabled him to shoulder huge responsibilities.
Know that God is in charge: In the early days of his ministry at NPAC, Rev Teng once had appendicitis. The doctor mistook it for stomach problem and the illness developed into peritonitis, which put him in hospital for three months. But this made him experience the wondrous grace of God. After he had recovered, he had headaches, cold or flu much less frequently than before.
Thank God often for others (which is also the key message of our monthly Bible verse, 2 Thessalonians 2:13): One special feature of Rev Teng's autobiography is that it carries accounts of many others and his earnest gratitude to God for them. At the age of 12, Rev Teng heard Dr John Sung preach. In the autobiography, Rev Teng included a more lengthy account of Dr Sung's life than his own at that stage! Rev Teng wrote: "Dr Sung burned out for God. He had entered eternal glory to receive his reward. I thank God deeply for him. I will never forget him."
Rev Teng also thanked God for the pilots of the aviation ministry of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Indonesian Mission who gave up the high salaries of state-run airlines to join the work of the gospel. The book also recounted an instance in which Rev Teng entered the church premises one morning at six o'clock to find a deacon cleaning the windows. He immediately went back out of the church quietly. "I never told her I saw her that morning. Hers was a sacred service that she performed out of love for God and the church. I thanked God wholeheartedly for her."
Rely on and look unto God persistently: Rev Teng concluded: "Looking back, it was all grace. Looking ahead, I see the same." At the elderly age at which he wrote the book, he not only looked back into the past, but was also able to look ahead into the future with a thankful heart to what awaits him.
The life testimonies of the early mentors of the NPAC family are a spiritual treasure for us all!