In view of the Social Concern Sunday on the 13 September, PSPC is launching the blood donation drive to encourage eligible congregants to contribute to this good cause. We give thanks to those who have responded and signed up for this donation drive. Besides donating blood, there are many other avenues for us to help the poor and needy in our society as well. The youths in Prinsep Lighthouse are preparing to step out to extend our generosity and appreciation to the foreign workers who are at our doorsteps. These foreign workers can be found in our church vicinity where the constructions of the MRT lines are in progress. The youths will be going out to distribute water and bread to these construction workers on 13 September.
There was a news report “Republic Poly student shows his appreciation to construction workers -- by giving them $5 hongbaos” that was featured in Stomp last year (http://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg). This student gave away his hongbaos (red packet) money to 20 foreign workers each consist of $5. He shared during the interview: “I did that to show them that we too appreciate them for their hard work. Honestly there aren’t many people out there who would give their own savings to strangers they don’t even know. Not to mention a lot of us take these workers for granted. I’m not rich or well-off either, but I did it anyway to hopefully inspire other youths to come up with other kind gestures to the workers to show that we care.” It is commendable of this student to show such kind gesture towards a group of people who can be easily taken for granted by many. To many Singaporeans, the presence of foreign workers is undesirable, what more paying attention to them and showing appreciation. Besides the foreigners in our midst, we also have among us fellow citizens who are poor and needy as well. In the BBC news on 19 February 2014, it was reported that a social researcher has estimated 10%-15% of households are low-income in our society. Being the sixth most expensive city in the world, it has becomes a tremendous struggle and priority for the poor and needy to make ends meet every day. We do not often encounter poverty in our daily life and it is not abject poverty in our society. Hence, we could easily neglect the poor and needy among us because such scene only appears behind closed doors. For many of us who come from a middle to high-income background, have we become so comfortable and so immersed in our daily life that we become oblivious to what happened behind closed doors?
In the Old Testament, the Lord commanded the Israelites, 10 “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” (Zechariah 7:9-11); “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 23:22). In the New Testament, again we learn in Matthew 25:31-46 that the sheep are the righteous ones who meet the needs of the least among the people and the goats are the wicked ones who failed to do likewise. Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. It is explicitly stated throughout the Bible how we ought to respond and treat the poor and the foreigners among us. The Christian faith is not an individualistic faith where we stay in our own comfort zone and be contented that we are saved. Such faith as James asserts, is dead (James 2). Romans 6:10-11, “10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. The Christian faith is a faith that is alive and active to God and to do what He says.
The giving of $5 each to the construction workers will not significantly improve the worker’s needs but it is an expression of care and appreciation to them – the same goes to our distribution of bread and water on 13 September. I am sure we can still make a difference in our small gesture as the bread and water may help to strengthen them and re-energize them at that moment. I guess the governing reason for us to engage in social responsibility is not to produce a significant result as some may expect but it is to act in love and obedience to our God. It is an expression of a faith alive to God. I would like to encourage all of us to put our faith into action, to do our part to reach the poor and foreigners in our midst. For those who have been constantly engaging in social responsibility, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)