Before becoming a Christian, I was not familiar with the Bible but the Bible impressed me as many of my friends quoted some wise sayings like:
• “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6 :21)
• the term “Good Samaritan” to mean someone who does good all the time
• “Strain out the gnat and swallow the camel” (Matthew 23:24) meaning to concentrate on details but neglect major matters
• “A soft answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15: 1)
Although I was impressed, the interest in studying the Bible only came when I was challenged to prove that the beliefs I held were from the Bible.
This became frustrating as I could not justify many of the belief systems I held on to. However, it was refreshing at the same time as I discovered many words of wisdom which caused me to realise that I was getting into a lot of problems and making a lot of enemies because I was totally void of God’s wisdom. I began to love studying God’s word.
After becoming a Christian I had a strict, firm, dedicated, no-nonsense and loving teacher in the person of bro. Peter Chin. Following that series of studies, it put in me the desire to spend my holidays after Form Five at Four Seas College which at that time was at Ponggol Point. When I was there, there was a terrible stench from the carcass of a dead pig but that horrible smell did not stop us from studying, researching, and reading small print found in thick and heavy books. We had to write a lot as there was no photocopying machine. There was a lot of memory verses. We had to do some gardening, while the ladies did the cooking. I can still recall having numerous discussions with the lecturers who were knowledgeable and humble.
I made my first trip to Johor Bahru with bro. Yankaya as I had a restricted passport which needed the immigration stamp to extend my stay in Singapore. Among the subjects covered were “The Holy Spirit” taught by bro. Yankaya, “Home and Marriage” by bro. Eddie Ee, “The Church of the Bible, Acts, Colossians and Ephesians” by bro. Booth, the book of Psalms and Proverbs by bro. Kwan Tai Choom and the subject I struggled with and failed miserably (through no fault of the teacher) was Greek, by bro. David Chew.
Then came a bold plan to begin our own business involving graphic designing with my brother, Tony and my Uncle Peter. This was in the early eighties. My job was to look for customers. This was the time of door-knocking, cold calls and endless phone calls. It was my habit to have Milo in the evening and read my Bible in a restaurant before heading back to the office. As I was reading my Bible a gentleman approached me and asked, “Are you reading the Bible?”
I looked at him and said, “Yes, Sir, I am reading the Bible, have you read the Bible?”
He said, “I enjoy reading the Bible, my favourite verse in the Bible is Galatians 6:9: Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart.”
He went on to explain that many people get tired, fed up, give up too soon. We lack endurance, perseverance, determination, consistency, commitment to put the required effort, resources and patience.
What surprised me is that this gentleman was not a Christian, yet he found the motivation from the scriptures to move forward during difficult and challenging times. This conversation made me appreciate the wisdom in the Word of God and how it can be applied to everyone.
Recently I met up with Christians who told me that many Christians they know practise their faith among the brethren or within the church premises only. Once they are among their colleagues or friends who are not Christians, their principles, behaviour and attitude change. They use this phrase to justify their actions, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
This is not right. We must let our light shine among men so that they may see our good works and glorify your Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16). We must be living epistles read by men (2 Corinthians 3:2). It is only when people see Christ living in us that they would be impressed (Galatians 2:20). We must imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). It is important to be clear in our minds that we are God’s children and accordingly we must be consistent in our life everywhere we go and no matter who is around us. Remember our morals and ethics must be prevalent in every aspect of our life.
Sunday, 29 September 2019 was the day of my preaching assignment in the Kuala Lumpur church of Christ. I left Klang as early as possible to in order to reach the Sentul church at eight o’clock to meet up with the Tamil brethren. Upon reaching KL city, the traffic was diverted for the Standard Chartered Marathon. The buses were stationary. The bus drivers stated that it was pointless for them to drive as many roads were blocked and the traffic congestion was horrendous. There was no alternative but to get a taxi.
Mentioning my place of destination, I got into the cab. The driver smiled and asked, “Your way or my way?” Responding immediately I replied, “Your way.” As we were heading to our destination, he explained how some customers felt that taxi drivers are crooks who would take you on a longer route to increase cab fare, thus he would always ask the customer, “Your way or my way?” Some customers end up paying more as using Waze or Google map they were not aware that certain roads were closed and the unexpected detours that brought about a situation where the customers ended up paying a lot more and lost a lot of time getting into traffic congestions only to end up frustrated, angry and disappointed. All this could be avoided if they had put their trust in the taxi driver. We can make the same mistake of thinking that we know better and eventually face disaster (Proverbs 16:25).
This caused me to think of Isaiah 55:8, 9 and John 14:6, and this question came out loud and strong, “Do we trust God in regards to His purpose, direction and destination in our fleeting lives?”
I am grateful and thank God for granting us the opportunity to grow in godly wisdom by studying the Bible that helps to improve our attitude, character, ability to handle problems and build better relationship with those around us and God.
God bless us all as we seek to do His will and seek first His kingdom and righteousness.