It was Rev Ridge Orr’s final year with us at PSPC and my penultimate year in the Court, as it was known then. As a Deacon, I asked Rev Ridge to pray for me if I should take over from Deacon Siau King Ing as chairman of Prinsep Cell Group Ministry (PCGM) since Deacon Siau was into his last year of service in the Court. What Rev Ridge did was totally unexpected. In the ensuing weeks, when he was completing the portfolio for the Court in May, he had put me with Deacon Siau to lead PCGM although all I had wanted him to do for me was just to pray for direction and confirmation of the call!
Boy! I was thrown into a lot of confusion and I prayed (one of the few prayers that I still remember till today!), “Oh Lord…. What have I gotten myself into? Leading PCGM is neither something small, simple nor easy. What am I supposed to do? How am I going to slay this Goliath?” Those were almost the exact words.
The first thought that crossed my mind was to chair PCGM based on what I have been trained to do in the corporate world, which is, to have a Key Performance Index (KPI) of getting more people to join cell groups. However, God had other plans.
Lo and behold, even before I could do anything, in the next following few weeks, when I was going through my daily devotion, the familiar passage from 1 Samuel 17:37 – 40 on how David dealt with Goliath came up. Not once but twice! God was answering my prayer!
“37And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” 38 Then Saul clothed David with his armour. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armour. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.” (ESV)
Although having read this passage countless times, the object lesson of the passage only hit me then. My hair stood on ends and goose bumps came up as the revelation of the Scriptures overwhelmed me. What struck me in this passage was the utter lack of rebuttal and challenge from David, who as a ruddy teenager, would have retorted like any youngster. He was being dressed with a personalized armour fitted for a person who is likely to be 6’6”! It’s obvious that the armour did not fit! It was not until David was completely armoured up that “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them”, If I were in David’s shoes, I would have told King Saul off that he was completely blind and unreasonable to fit something that is obviously too big for me! But that would have been the end of me… Epic failure!
The good news is that God spoke clearly to me about some issues which I have to deal with, such as humility and total submission to Him in order for me to work on the call that He had put in my heart. My personal pride and prejudice was obstructing me from being used by God.
With a message this obvious, what else can I do but to obey and change for I fear the consequence and final destination if I were to continue to be disobedient. However, did I change immediately? I don’t think so, as many, especially my committee members, can and will testify! Although the revelation was immediate, the transformation was rather painstakingly slow… It took me at least 500 days just to see the change as I was much set ingrained by my own sinful nature. This is going to be a long march for me. This journey of sanctification (growth in holiness) can be painful at times, but I consider it necessary, as the Chief Potter has to remould me into the vessel that He wants me to be.
What other plans did the Master have for me? As mentioned earlier, He wanted nothing to do with the ‘numbers game’ but what He wants is getting His people to be right with the Word and to start obeying Him. This is not a quantity game but it is the quality of the person that matters. This is the call that God had placed in my heart. Get your heart right with God, obey Him and convince others that getting their heart right with Him is important. This is the discipleship journey for me, my calling.
I pray that this will continue to be an important part of my life, hoping that at least a few other people will be encouraged to be part of this journey with me. I have been meeting up with Eld Derek Chan and Eld Wilson Teng on Saturday mornings and also with Eld Sim Kang and Dn Greg Tan regularly, and occasionally with Eld Ho Yew Kee. These are my accountability groups. My prayer is that together with my fellow brothers, we will continue this discipline of meeting together, to encourage and to spur each other on this journey, with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
My prayer for the church is that more will be encouraged to take this journey of faith which promises to be rich and worthwhile, notwithstanding that we will face challenges and storms that will come our way. My trust is that He will prepare us to weather these struggles ahead! God bless!
Eld Long Seh Wei