There are times of health; there are times of illness. There are times one feels on top of the world; there are times one feels one can't get down any lower. In the past week of bodily weakness, I have had plenty of times to reflect on many things; perhaps in anticipation of my forthcoming 25th anniversary in the Lord's service. It is a Silver Jubilee worth celebrating, as no one is sure whether one will live to see its Golden Jubilee in another 25 years' time. Though, in all modesty, I plan to celebrate my 40th anniversary (Ruby Jubilee) in 15 years' time and perhaps one last time when I reach 75 years old, God willing. I have been reading Numbers 33 on "Starting Points" or "Departure Points" depending on what versions one might be reading.
In the Septuagint, it is said that Moses wrote down their departures and their stations. In the Hebrew MT, it is "appearance and departure" which the latter giving the meaning that Israelites made an appearance in one place and then departed to another place. And Moses recorded some 40 such places in about 56 verses of ch. 33 of Numbers. I love the phrase, "starting points" because all of us have got to make a start in our life of faith. We must be sure that where we are now is the place where the Lord wants us to be. We have to start somewhere especially in the beginning of our relationship with our Saviour when we proclaim with all earnestness and zeal that we would follow Him. My starting point was in Melangkap, a small village very few people ever heard of, at the foot of Mount Kinabalu at the side of Kota Belud. From thence, I have gone into more than 120 places, preaching in more than 100 villages and towns in the these 25 years. If I had never started, I might have stayed on as a lawyer as many of my friends and contemporaries; some have departed; some have made their millions; some are still labouring day and night in their work. But I labour for the Lord. In less than 6 weeks' time, I shall fulfil my 25 years in His service; I am still starting and departing, and my next stop is Pulau Banggi.