The wise king Solomon in his book, Ecclesiastes, clearly stated there is a time for everything in our life. If we look at our life, we know this to be true. There is a time to grow physically, time to study, time to get a job, time to settle down and have children, there is also time to grow old and finally a time to die (Ecc 3:1-8). In between all these times in our lives, there will be many times of joy and our share of the times of pain, anguish and disappointments.
Indeed today, we are caught up in a rat race to excel in almost everything we do. Previously it was good enough to pass our examinations but now, it is the age of scoring distinctions, learning to play the piano, organ etc. Previously when we got ourselves a house, it became our home, our abode of happiness but now, it is a question of the size of the house, is it a 4-room, 5-room, executive, etc. Getting a job has also become a sophisticated search fro higher wages, benefits, promotions, etc. Today, we are brought up in the computer age and much new advancement that indirectly place more emphases on human excellence. Recently, there was extensive coverage on the emerging problem of stress-related illnesses in our mass media. Asia magazine devoted almost its entire coverage on stress in Asia.
This quest for excellence and to be No. 1 has sadly led to the decline of the family as the basic unit of society. Today, we have many broken homes, neglected children, alcoholism, bankrupts, etc. More importantly, in the quest for survival, people by and large have neglected God.
The present state of affairs tends to imply that man feels that he only needs himself to survive, that he alone is the master of his own destiny, thus a breeding ground for humanism. God is thought of as a faraway, distant concept that has no effect on man. The younger people who join the job market today have no time for the Supreme One, trusting only self. It does seem that people only turn to God when they are completely helpless, stricken by illness, failures in their personal life, etc.
The Bible clearly, and without doubt, teaches that there is life after death and that the life we now lead will determine what is in store for us.
People who live their own life without God or with a superficial relationship with God live it to their destruction. There will be no second chance. Some people leave it to the twilight years of their life before turning to God when they see death’s dark shadow approaching. What is the use of giving God aged service and late reverence when God really demands strength and vigour of our younger days?
There are many who think that their life is secure up to 50, 60, 70 or more years. The inspired book of James talks of life as a vapour that today is and tomorrow will be no more (Jas 4:14). Who is to say that anyone will be alive the next day? Does accident, cancer, heart attacks seem foreign to anyone?
In conclusion, I say, obey God now and live forever. Death is not the end at all; it is only the beginning of another chapter with God or eternal punishment without God. Let us not take living for granted. Let us find the time for everything. There is a time for God. It is not only on Sundays but everyday, a daily living with God and His living word, the Bible.
The 1993 Story Continues
It’s now Jan 2003. I was asked to write a follow-up to my article of May 1993. 10 years had sailed away. As I took stock from 93 to 03 and looked again at the article, I am not surprised that many things have indeed not changed! By and large people are still leaving GOD out of their plans, their decisions, their lifestyle and their daily living. GOD is still being looked upon as just another item, sought only when we get into difficulties; an insurance policy at best.
I’m sure if a survey was done island wide in S’pore we will find more yearnings for GOD. Why? Because of the economic crisis, job insecurities, anxieties and stress. In 1993 the situation was almost the same as it is now. Conclusion – people don’t really change, do they?
One thing that bothers me a lot is why seemingly very intelligent people educated with good jobs cannot accept the existence of the GOD of the Bible but they can believe myths and fables of the world religions. There is another group who accepts all the denominational teachings and is unable to rightly divide the word of GOD. They can’t even understand that the authority for today is the NT and that the OT was for our learning only. I was talking to a scholar last week and he was talking about instrumental music and dance of the OT being used today for worship. How sad. They practise “buffet” teachings – take what they like from the OT and leave those things which do not fit in – so instrumental music is in, dance is ok, circumcision no need; all the OT feast and sacrifices no need…”buffet” style indeed. We order the “set meal” laid out by God, we take the main dish from the NT. My own personal take on this is that the majority of those who call themselves Christians don’t really care about such issues as authority, doing things the authorized way etc. They are happy to just listen to their earthly pastors and clergy to lead them.
The teachings and being right in God’s sight is not at all important to them; just love GOD and be sincere. Basic Bible teachings such as believe and be baptized are brushed aside. I urge the Christians at JCOC to be determined to follow the old paths and increase in their wisdom by continuing in their study of god’s word. Be vigilant and defend the faith from false teachings and learn to trust GOD always. We are in this world but we are not of this world, we are Christians during good times and bad times, all our life is a challenge to be loyal to GOD. We should not be envious when our neighbours prosper, when our friends get their promotions, when we are sabotaged, when we feel let down. GOD has his plans for us. We should not compare JCOC with the massive crowds that attend the ‘fun and joy’ churches, where doctrine and the deep teachings are swept aside for entertainment value and the “feel good” factor. An ex-JCOC member whom I met at a wedding recently is attending one of the newly created churches. She said that she is very happy there, because they can come and go as they please, with no real commitments needed.
If it is god’s will, perhaps 10 years from now, I may be called upon to write another follow-up on this article, I guess you already know that things will still be the same 1993, 2003 or 2013…
May the peace of our GOD be upon all our JCOC members.
Written by Ullas Nair
First published on 16th May 1993.