12 August 2007

Sermon Reflections

Today's sermon was entitled: "Faithful Provisions" taken from Neh.9:15-21. 2 key points: God's giving is faithful, and God's giving is purposeful.

What spoke to me was a fresh awareness of who God is. The ancient King/God is usually one who takes from us...taxes, goods, gifts,etc. God of the Bible on the other hand is One who gives to us... our daily provisions, gave His Son for us, gives His Holy Spirit to us. What a great God!

The people in the wilderness were "stubborn" mentioned twice, and yet God did not forsake them but instead provided for them. They were stubborn because they do not know God. They saw His miracles, yet they did not know Him. How much they know of God is often reflected in how much they gave to God. I gave God a miserable portion from what He has given. In that sense, my knowledge of God is pathetic and un-trusting. I have said so many times and asked for change so many times. Yet my actual knowledge of God is shallow.

God's giving to us reflects His faithfulness to us. Our giving to God reflects our faith in Him to provide for us. What kind of faith do I have in Him? A $2 token faith? Or an exact 10% tithing faith?

Pastor's concluding story of Michael the missionary also spoke to me. Michael is a missionary with COOS. He contracted prostrate cancer and was referred to Mt Elizabeth Hospital for treatment. Upon admission, he was asked whether he can afford to pay for the treatment. He said that he do not have the money but his God will provide for him. The doctor, out of compassion, agreed to waive his part of the fees, but he would still need to pay for the hospital part of bills. While waiting for his x-ray results and wondering what to do with the payments, he was suddenly greeted by 2 men, strangers to him, but one of them knew him from a speaking engagement years ago. This stranger said that he was walking when suddenly a hand pressed upon his face and turn it to his side until he saw him. They talked and asked how they can be of help to him. Later when Michael went back to the hospital, he discovered that his hospital bills were paid in full by the 2 men.

It's not just the story that touched me but the theology behind it. Why did God allowed Michael to go through the process, the agony of worrying about the payments, when He could simply heal him straightaway?

The process of learning to trust in God to provide is important. For Michael he learnt afresh that God will provide. For all of us, it became a real-life story of faith and testimony to the faithfulness of God.

What are some processes that I am walking through now? I need to be careful not to short circuit them, but to faithfully and prayerfully walk through it. My full-time journey came to mind, with its frustrations and 'why-like-that-ending'. It has caused a strain on my spiritual life and affected my ministry and walk. But today's sermon has re-ignited the faith-hope that God will make sense of it in His time. Maybe He already has, but I have not listened.

Lord renew my walk afresh this day.

Side note: I saw this lady in front of me taking sermon notes today. She was jotting down the sermon points in a note book. She copied at least 2-3 pages of notes. Impressive. It was what I used to do in my younger days. Have I lost my fire?


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