By Pr Nancy Lim
We are stepping into the last quarter of 2023 and so far, we have had a fruitful year in living out our church theme “A HEART FOR SOUL”. In August, we listened to a series of mission-related sermons and sent out 3 teams separately to Thailand, Cambodia and Mongolia. We have also heard and read the testimonies of the mission trippers. At the end of October, we will be sending out a recce team to Taiwan. Another ten adults and two children will also join the English Presbytery Japan Mission (EPJM) teams going out between October to December.
While all these events are ongoing, the various ministries have already begun making the plans for next year. I ask that you keep our Pastors, Elders and Deacons in prayer as we meet on 7 October to align our plans and budgets with the church theme for 2024, which is “A HEART TO SERVE”.
Rev Forest Koh wrote a series of “From the Pastor’s Desk” articles in June this year on his vision for GPC to become a missional church. In his article on 16 June, he wrote “As God’s children and His church, being missional should be the DNA of all followers of Jesus.” He clarified further in his article on 23 June that “everything we do can be missional, so long as we do it with the love and passion of Christ to reach out to non-believers.”
To achieve this vision of becoming a missional church, we should live out the Gospel in our lives as a witness for Christ. But how can we show the world that we are Jesus’s followers? Jesus says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
I think it is important that we, as a spiritual family, examine how we have been caring for one another, and this extends to how we serve one another. I’m not suggesting that we become inward-looking. You may have heard of this quote “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” I believe that many non-Christians are observing and forming an impression of us by the way we treat our fellow believers. Hence for the rest of this article, I’d like to zoom in on how we, as Jesus’s followers, can show our love for one another through the manner we serve.
The first way we can show our love as Jesus’s followers is to honour and respect one another as we serve together. The apostle James calls us not to show partiality to any one party. James 2:8-9 warn us “If you really fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
Secondly, we can show our love as Jesus’s followers by sharing things in common. We can learn from the early church, how the fellowship of the believers was lived out. Acts 2:42-47 show us that “they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers… And all who believed were together and had all things in common…And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
More could be said with regards to how we should serve within our spiritual family, but I shall end with a third way that we can show our love as Jesus’s followers and that is, to serve with humility. There is no better model to follow than the example set by our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul writes “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who… humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:1-8)
May we learn to serve one another humbly, sacrificially and with mutual respect, so that by our acts of love, others can see that we are Jesus’s followers.