Sunday, March 29, 2020

"I have not run away from being a pastor.." (Jeremiah 17:16)

Besides Ezekiel, Jeremiah is my favourite prophet. In times of solace and uncertainty, Jeremiah speaks loud and clear. There is this verse that I read as a young Christian some 35 years ago about Jeremiah not running away from the Lord of being a pastor. In what ways Jeremiah fulfilled God's calling as pastor? Whether the Israelites liked Jeremiah or not, ultimately the words of Jeremiah proved to be the true words from the Lord. Jeremiah lamented long and hard when he said, "for more than 24 years I have spoken to you but you have not listened.." Jeremiah acted as pastor by speaking the word of the Lord to His people. Jeremiah was faithful in delivering God's Word for more than a quarter of a century before the Exile became reality. He forewarned the Israelites what was going to happen to them if they did not repent, amend their ways and turn to the Lord with their hearts. Yet this verse from Jeremiah has another clause in where the prophet said that he "did not desire the woeful day".
It is like the present crisis. I have not desired the woeful day to come upon Sabah. For more than two months we were holding our fort and the virus took until early March to surface in our State. I have not desired the woeful day. But neither have I run away from being a pastor? I jokingly said a month or so ago that it was not something I yearn or long to be - a pastor. I would very much prefer to "retire" and write my books. For sustenance, I was prepared to look to the Lord and not have any fixed income. But it took a vision at the last Sunday of December (29th Dec) to convince me that I should go to Indah Permai, the current place of my ministry. Since then and until today, I have not run away from being a pastor. Despite being lock-downed at home, I have delivered two full sermons and a devotion this week via audio recording. From last Thursday to early this morning I was fully engaged in preparing for the spiritual feeding of the Lord's flock. I am glad that a couple of people outside my pastorate have asked to listen to my sermons. I don't claim to have any stage presence or that my voice sounds any good through audio recording but when it is the word of the Lord spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit, people's hearts are blessed, spirits are uplifted and our souls draw ever nearer to God.

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