Sunday, 26 August 2012

"Come and have breakfast!"

Have you had your breakfast this morning? (Depends on your time zone I guess :)

Well...if you haven't, then better brace your stomach!!
You know, there are so many kinds of breakfasts!

The 'American kind':

The 'Malay kind':

The 'Hong Kong kind':

The 'South Indian kind':

The 'Japanese kind':

...okay...that's enough of whetting your appetite :-)

"Why the fooooood..?" you might ask! Well, let us digress for a little while...

As Christian ministers teach or preach in their churches, seminars, camps, retreats, and conferences, they are selflessly pouring their lives into those they are ministering. However, we often think that that is either all that they do - or maybe the most essential thing they do.

I think that couldn't be further from the truth.

You see, indeed a huge portion of a minister's time will be spent on preaching and teaching. Hence, that is not what I'm talking about. I'm more of referring to the 'churches, seminars, camps, retreats, and conferences' bit.

If we lift up our fingers and flip through the New Testament's early pages, we'll see Jesus' way of 'being a minister'. Besides teaching in the enclosed space of the four-walls (which is essential I'd say), we can see Jesus spending most of His time outside of that enclosure (seems like non-optional as well!). Of course, we can reason that the modern demands on being ministers have mandated us to spend more time in administration, organisation, and planning. From experience (albeit limited), this is true - but only partially. Let me explain:

Every era has different challenges to overcome. In Jesus' time, people spent so much more time in order to travel from place to place. They had no 'time-saving' technology to write books or copy materials. There was no electricity to continue preparing messages in their rooms at night. In our time, we claim to have resolved all those 'challenges' - and therefore it seems like we should have more time in our hands now than ever! However, do we...? With the onset of modernisation and digitalisation of everything, our time is now occupied by 'modern' things - such as making PowerPoints, maintaining computer networks, social networking sites, and *ahem* blogs, organising an effective filing or library system, and so on. (Note: None of these things are bad in themselves! - in fact, they can help keep our ministries going).

Hence, it is my belief that although in Jesus' time, the people spent more time on certain things, they also have more free time on other things. In our time, although we have learnt to 'save time' on certain things, we end up spending those 'saved time' on other things. The bottom line is, regardless of which era we are in, we have roughly the same amount of 'free time' in our hands. Therefore, we can't say that Jesus was 'more free' than us. He was not. In fact, He could have been busier!

So back to the breakfast bit. You see, Jesus had time for breakfast with His disciples! (See John 21:4-22). This happened after Jesus was resurrected. You would think that if I have died and was then resurrected, I would have gone and do 'more important' things than having breakfast with a bunch of followers that deserted me when I was captured.

But no! That was not what Jesus thought (thank God)! When the disciples came ashore, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it and some bread. Jesus prepared breakfast! He spent time to eat with His disciples.

Do you have such time to spare for your disciples? Your friends? Your church members? Your family?

Of course, by focusing too much on 'breakfast' or 'spending time', we run the risk of missing the point.
Jesus did not just have breakfast with His disciples in order to 'spend time' per se (today we might say 'waste time'). He invested His precious and limited time (as He has to go very soon) into them. What He said during and after the breakfast are paramount. In fact, the verses at the end of John 21 are probably some of the most preached of all! You see, in order to converse and ask such important questions and indicate affirmations, Jesus took the time out for His disciples - His friends.

Let us do the same.

Let us spend our 'precious and limited' time with those we love and not just eat and talk about the surface matters - but go deeper.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The 5th Gospel...?

Huh? Really? The '5th' Gospel? 
Before you claim there's a typo in the Heading...let us consider this:

Besides Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, did you know that there is a '5th Gospel'?

That 5th Gospel is YOU. It is Your Life. Your character. Your attitude to life itself and others around you. Some people might not have the chance to read the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John - but they will certainly read the Gospel according to You.

What story are you telling the world, your community, your colleagues, your friends, your family, and your wife/husband?

Is it just your own history, or are you telling HIS Story?

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10