Friday, September 27, 2019

From North to South

Last night, I got lost attempting to locate a house in Putatan, KK where I was going to pray for a one-month old baby, the first child of a couple whom I knew from Kota Belud. I spoke with the father's brother whom I got to know last month in Tamu Darat. He really looked young for his age, but very mature in his conversations and actively serving the Lord. I joked with him that I prayed to the Lord a week ago why He did not send a younger man, doing all these travelling or journeying and preaching. It took me more than 2 days to recover from my 3-day ministry in Kudat last weekend. By the time I felt fully replenished in energy, last night I drove 60kms, trying to find my way in the dark. And just as I was editing my John's commentary yesterday, I have to prepare for my two sermons tomorrow night and Sunday morning. I will travel to the south, right at the Sarawak border, 17kms from Sipitang. Last week, it was the northern most town in Sabah. Imagine I might travel even further to the islands.
I had wanted to turn down the invitation to preach in Pulau Banggi, the biggest island in Sabah, north of Kudat but when the District Superintendent said in his welcoming speech last Friday night that he was hoping that I could make it, I simply felt I could not turn him down and I said yes. Was it folly on my part or God's will that I should travel into the uttermost parts of Sabah, even beyond Tanah besar to its many islands? Sometimes, I get up in the middle of the night, wondering whether I should still be doing all these. Lord, grant me strength until I declare Your glory to the next generation.

The young man was very thoughtful when I mentioned my wish that a younger person should be doing the ministry, but his reply was poignant. He said, "there was a lack of successors" (pelapis) or the next level of leaders rising up. I think that is the main challenge in my denomination. We don't see younger men, in their 30s or early 40s rising up. In fact, most of the senior pastors in their 40s are feeling burnout in ministry, as they find that all their efforts in ministry have not been reciprocated with reasonable compensation. Perhaps, when one is their 20s or early 30s, one can still be idealistic, but in one's 40s and worse in 50s, if one is still improvised, there is no escape from the feeling of despondency. We can say we look to heavenly rewards as I do, but we are still living in the world and that would be the gist of my message tomorrow night among the seniors from the book of Ecclesiastes, "Are we enjoying the fruits of our labour?"

No comments:

Post a Comment