We are all grateful for a ‘breathe of fresh air’ following the onslaught of haze that created history in Singapore, sustaining a high record in the psi readings last Friday (I guess some of us do not even know what psi stands for. But we know what it is all about – that’s good enough).
Most would probably blame it on a neighbouring country. But it reminded me of a burning situation that took place, right in the compound of our church about two months ago.
It was a gratifying event, when an elderly lady, who having received Jesus as Lord a few months earlier, finally agreed to have her house idols removed. Over at her house, following the reading of Ps. 115, reminding ourselves of the worthlessness of idols, it was a joyful moment as the place that used to be occupied by idols were cleaned out (taken to our church to be destroyed), along with the singing of hymns in praise to the one true living God).
In 1Thessalonians chapter 1, the Apostle Paul wrote with praise the faith and example of the Thessalonians, who having become Christians, took steps that evidenced their new-found faith. Paul alluded to their changed lives when he mentioned in vs. 5 – ‘. . . our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. . . .’
As a demonstration of such an impact on their lives because of them having trusted in Jesus, Paul refers to them in vs. 9 as to ‘. . . how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.’
And it wasn’t as if it was something easy for them to do, cutting themselves off from the idols that they have been worshipping for as long as they can remember. Verse 6 speaks of them having turned to God ‘in much affliction.’ I wonder what this means? Could it be wanting to make a clean break from the idols on the one hand, and on the other, the incessant nagging and badgering of nay-sayers not to abandon their gods?
We are grateful for our own faith and belief in Jesus. We praise God for the Good News of the Gospel. Each Sunday as we step into church, we are worshiping our Living God. And as we oftentimes remind ourselves, we ‘Enter to Worship, Depart to Witness.’ The question is as to how then do we witness – whether in Word or Deed? For the Thessalonian believers, their faith were evidenced by a turning away from idols. With what am I demonstrating my faith in Jesus, so that like the Thessalonians, Paul could say in vs. 8, ‘. . . your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.’
Elder Richard Lai