Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Ministry under the Movement Control Order (MCO)

I tend to get busier when the lockdown or Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) took effect almost two months ago. We started a google meet for young teenagers' class last week and tomorrow we will be continuing our study on John 5. By this Sunday I shall have preached 4 weeks non-stop which would be a first for me as a pastor since I started January 2020. But one learns many new things during this current health crisis that brought about many changes. Churches have closed down and many big or mega churches have been brought to their knees though their online services are still ongoing and can garner thousands of views. Church finances suffer as well as staff and Bible College lecturers received pay-cut or no pay at all. What is God saying in all these? I always thought perhaps by the end of the year I will preach a message entitled, "10 Reasons why God allows this Covid-19 to come upon Malaysia and its effect on Churches". If there is a lesson we have learned, it is how powerless human beings are.

We are at the mercy of nature or the elements. A plague could come and hit us hard like the Covid-19 virus. Many people have lost their jobs and have their salaries reduced significantly. But I have always believed in the Lord's goodness and in a way for those who walk faithfully before the Lord, the Lord would keep us in times of famine and want. Every time an economic or financial crisis hits, I find myself an anchor in God's goodness and His power to bless. First, in 1997-1998 when I was Treasurer-General when the economic crisis hit Malaysia and its currency fell from 2.5MYR to 1USD to 4.2MYR to 1USD within months which is the current exchange rate now. Yet, church finances grew almost 25% that period and we never had to reduce the salary of church workers and everyone received their pay check right on time until the day I left office in Nov 1998 with a big surplus for the in-coming Treasurer. Then, the 2nd financial crisis hit in Sept 2008 and Singapore's stock market fell by half but I was securely in my job then, having been hired just months before the crisis hit. Now this present economic down-turn caused by Covid-19 I was happily engaged as pastor in the beginning of the year just as the Covid-19 began to rear its ugly head around the world. Just last month, the church Treasurer in his sermon said the church finances were still fine, despite church services being stopped for more than 5 months (3 and a half months during the first MCO) and now almost two months in the current CMCO. God is able to feed His servants in times of famine. Lions may go hungry and young men may grow weary but those who seek Him suffer no lack and are renewed day by day. 

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