Why do I need to reach out?
In every year, there comes a few important occasions such as Easter and Christmas that the church readies itself for a big harvest of souls. A sense of buzz and excitement reverberate among the people. Many come together to discuss their plans to reach out and to invite their friends and family for church services. The level of faith is probably at its all-time high. A deep anticipation ensues.
For me, I too, am eager and excited about these big days, yet a feeling of dread lingers persistently — I am not evangelistic. I do not think that I will be able to bring a friend. Even if I try, I most likely would not succeed. Evangelism may be natural for some people, but for me, it is as though I am a fish out of water.
I am a second-generation Christian, having been born one in a good (not perfect, but good) family, attended church regularly since I was young, and was obliged by my mother to keep to it faithfully, but sometimes I wish I was not. Being a second-generation Christian means I do not know what it is like to be a non-Christian. I do not know what it is like to be saved. As such, the revelation of salvation, the work of Christ on calvary and its significance eluded me.
Being shielded comfortably within the boundaries of church and its godly fellowship as I grew up was a double-edged sword — it meant that as a child, I was confined in the sheath of godly values and family virtues. I was never exposed much to the rougher and tougher side of the neighbourhood, the harsh elements of life, or the aspects of a broken and dysfunctional family.
The very institution that was supposed to teach compassion to the young minds and imbue love into the gentle hearts of the children, the next generation, backfired. By no means was it the church’s fault, nonetheless it was a paradoxical effect.
Maybe that is the reason why I do not see the urgency to reach out. I do see a need, but maybe that need is driven by peer pressure or a number target to hit. It sings well in tune with the typical Singaporean ethos — Others do it, therefore I do it as well.
But the past one year has been different. There has been a stirring in my heart that things should not be this way. Things should not remain status quo. God is doing a work in my heart as He always does.
This morning, as I arose early to pray. I cried out to God desperately and I asked him what does it mean to reach out and to evangelise? What is the heart behind it? Why do we do all that we do? It took awhile for God to answer me as though He wanted me to press on into the inner courts and into His deeper presence. As I knelt down on the cold marble floor of my room in prayer, I cried out again. And this time, God spoke and He spoke in a still small voice in my heart — Do you feel the pain in your knees as you kneel before Me? This is the pain you should feel when you see the people around you. This pain, whether be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, this pain is everywhere and in everyone. This pain should resonate with your pain and it should break your heart.
It clicked and I was instantly reminded of three different life-changing sermons that were preached. Pastor Lia asked the congregation in her sermon a few years ago — what breaks your heart? When you see the needs of the people around you — their need for love, acceptance, hope, purpose — does it move your heart to do something to help and to make a difference in their lives? Pastor How spoke about having a revelation of heaven and hell, that we are racing against time to populate heaven and to plunder hell. Pastor Bill Wilson taught us as well — compassion cannot be taught, it must be learnt. I must experience compassion personally by walking the road or the street that Jesus would walk. I can only feel and understand compassion if I put myself in the shoes of the people around me.
Only then will I be able to understand and comprehend the love of God a little more.
For God so loved the world that He gave. Now I understand the height and the depth of God’s love a little more. Now I want to love and give just as my God had done the same for me and everyone else.
Because I understand the love of God a little more, it compels me. No longer can I sit back, watch, and do nothing. That would be passive. That would be criminal. That would be a disgrace to the grace of God.
Looking back, I probably cannot change my background, but one thing I know for sure — I am blessed to be a blessing. I am blessed to be born in a good family with Christian upbringing, and because I am first loved, I must love others now. Love has no value until it is shared. This love that I have received, it is not meant to be kept but given.
While I may not be able to relate well to people who comes from a broken family or a less than normal background, I can let them know with great confidence that from their generation onward, with God in their lives, things will be different. I can only say that because I have experienced it myself. I am thankful and grateful for my mum who brought me to church since I was born, and because of that, I knew God at a young age. It is all about perspective.
I like what our late founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew said in his speech — “This is not a game of cards. This is your life and mine.” This is not a game indeed, this is about lives destined for heaven or hell. It is not to be played with, it is to be taken seriously. God took it so seriously that He was willing to send His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. If God took my life seriously and ransomed it from the snare of death, then I ought to take the lives of others seriously as well.
While I may not be a natural evangelist, I can tap on the power of the supernatural evangelist, the Holy Spirit. He is the one that leads man to the truth. He is the one that lights the way, illuminates the heart and enlightens the mind. The Holy Spirit is my helper and partner in reaching out. I may be a fish out of water, but Jesus promised that if we follow Him, He will make us fishers of men. I believe and I stand on that promise.
Truly, at the end of the day, we can all sing — break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Oh God, here I am, with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Use me. Send me.
Find out more about the amazing church I call home: http://www.heartofgodchurch.org/