Never Too Late!
By Philip Wong
It is sad to see someone reach the end of their life without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the ministry that I am currently engaged in, there are many opportunities to reach out to the residents with the gospel or to witness Christ's love to them through our contributions. Sometimes, I jokingly refer to this ministry as the "last gate" because this may be the last opportunity for the residents to know Christ before the end of their journey on this earth. With their declining and sometimes unpredictable medical conditions, we only have a short window of opportunity to share the Gospel. I find great meaning and privilege in being able to sound the final “boarding call” for these residents to receive Christ.
In retrospect, it was not a coincidence, but truly God’s divine accord for me to participate in this work. Just like Jonah of the Bible trying to escape God's plans, I had procrastinated three times, reluctant to "let go" of my corporate career to get into community work. However, God continually pursued me and He eventually brought His plans and purposes to pass.
Looking back, I can see that God's work in me began before I even knew Him, where I learned as a child the importance of giving back to the community through the regular Civics and Moral Education classes. That lesson in my heart kept reminding me to take action to serve the community throughout my growing up years.
Another event that reinforced my call to give back to the community came in the mid-1990s during a book presentation by Bob Buford at Pasir Panjang Christ Church. Reading has never been my interest, but the book Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan From Success to Significance was one of those reads that has found its way into my limited book collection. This book caught the attention of many Christians and non-Christians in the midst of their careers at the time. Bob Buford is a religious man and he advocates throughout his book that we should all spend 50 per cent of our time on personal pursuits and 50 per cent of our time on “the community and the world around us”. He calls this a 50/50 life. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for ways to contribute more to our community, church, or in other areas of their lives. It offers valuable insights and advice on how to make our lives significant in ways we probably never imagined.
These events made me want to give something back to the community. Every couple of years something would happen that would reawaken that desire. I would ask myself, "When will I leave my corporate career to do community service? What is the purpose of life?" My conscience got stung every time this awakening happened and it got stronger amid the frustrations at work or in life. Procrastination was an excellent strategy for silencing or ignoring these thoughts whenever they came up.
Eventually, after God gave me three strikes between the ages of 45 and 55, I finally gathered the courage to quit my corporate career to join the community sector and have not looked back. It's like in Isaiah 30:21 (ESV) which says, “And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” It reminded me of the biblical perspective of investing in the lives of others. God has given each of us something that we must now give to others. Although we are by no means a finished product, we are called to faithfully pass on to others everything we have received.
In Ephesians 5:8 (ESV), Paul reminded believers that they at one time “were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” The “children of light” have much to offer those who are lost in the darkness of this world. Those in our communities and around the world need the shining and unmistakable testimony of those upon whom Jesus shone (Ephesians 5:14). With the Hiding Place (Christian Rehabilitation Home) now in our backyard, this is a great opportunity for Grace Bible Presbyterian Church members to participate in their ministry to help those in need. Just as we read in Proverbs 22:9 (ESV): "Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor."
We must be encouraged to respond to the needs of others both practically and spiritually. So, with whom can you share the bread and Jesus the bread of life? It is never too late to take the first step today.