Being a Beacon at School and Work
By Melinda Poh
It was a fine Saturday evening, a couple of weeks away from my final university exams five years ago. I decided to take a short break from my daily 16-hour studying stint to play a game of chess with my friend.
In the middle of the game, my companion took a few too many minutes to decide to take my Knight, and I recall losing my cool. “I don’t have time to deal with your indecisiveness, I’ve my finals coming up,” I exploded, and hit my head on the wall in distress, and in a way, to guilt-trip him into thinking that it would be his fault if I didn’t do well.
Every time I become impatient, or snap at someone because I think they are “wasting my time” , or obsess over studying and grades above and over everything else, I know I’m not shining as the beacon I should be.
As I look back on my school days, I’ve two things to share:
1. Results matter, but not as much as our daily walk: I won’t say that results don’t matter, because they do, especially if you’re aiming for a particular degree or field, or seeking a job that mandates a good grade. We also fulfil our responsibilities as a student to complete our assignments and take pride in learning. However, week after week, as I found myself spending all my time studying, impatiently waiting for church service to end in order to rush to a library every Sunday, missing out on meals and gatherings because I felt I could squeeze in an additional hour or two, I realised that I was not fulfilling my duty as a Christian, friend ,and family member. This resulted in broken relationships and many lost opportunities to be a shining beacon for Christ.
2. Relying on our own knowledge doesn’t provide lasting comfort: Relying on my own knowledge may have felt comforting for a short period of time, but entrusting my path and the outcome to God through prayer and supplication gave me more comfort than the hours of studying I put in. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
I graduated from university in 2016 and joined the workforce (in the government) in the same year. Even though work does not come with graded examinations, it brings with it a different set of stresses—managing the people around you, finances, time, meeting targets and goals in your workplace, career development et cetera. And probably the biggest difference is that there are no summer and winter breaks!
However, I thank God for the place He put me in, and more importantly, the people He put around me—godly colleagues, respectful and understanding superiors, caring friends, and family members. They have been the strongest encouragement and reminders to me that life is beyond what your boss thinks of you and your next promotion; it’s about carrying His word as a banner.
May we live our lives as the song lyrics from the hymn “May the Lord Find Us Faithful” reminds us,