Methodist Missions Society Thanksgiving Tea Reception
CHRISTIAN LIFE IS NOT a luxury cruise but a rescue boat. This was emphasised by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon at the Methodist Missions Society’s (MMS) anksgiving Tea Reception, held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Sept 29, 2012.
About 90 people attended, some of whom were from the missions committees of the various Methodist churches and some of whom were individual supporters of the MMS. A band from the Methodist Church of the Incarnation led the attendees in songs of praise.
In the Bishop’s sermon titled “Living in Paradox”, he drew from Mark 8:31-38 to speak of Jesus’ radical character and unconventional teachings about what it means to follow God in mission. He highlighted that Jesus calls Christians to live “in paradox” or in contrast to the world’s values in the areas of suﬀering, service and spirituality.
Referring to verses 31 and 34, in which Jesus speaks of His own suﬀering and death, and the suﬀering of those who follow Him, the Bishop pointed out that the nature of true glory is in suﬀering. Suﬀering is often necessary in Christian life, and the missionary enterprise surged forward every time Christians were willing to suﬀer.
Secondly, he said, the nature of true gain is in giving away oneself in service. Jesus says in verse 35 that “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me and for the gospel will save it”. is contrasts the world’s way, which says “You have to take care of yourself”, with God’s way, which says “God will take care of you”. What we do need to take care of is the mission that God has given to each of us.
NOT THE WORLD’S VALUES
§ Nature of true glory – suﬀering
§ Nature of true gain – service
§ Nature of true value – soul
If you read the Bible, said the Bishop, you will realise it is not about survival, but about redemption. He added, “We gain not what we keep, but what we give away.”
Thirdly, verses 36 and 37 show us the nature of value: that the soul is more valuable than anything this world and its markets has to oﬀer. He said: “Our richness or wealth depends not so much on what we own, but on whether we are owned by God.”
He pointed out how the reluctant prophet Jonah was angry that God showed mercy to Nineveh when they repented after hearing Jonah’s prophecy, and warned the congregation against doing God’s work but not becoming like God. “We must make sure one of the big mission fields is inside us,” he said. “Even as He works through us, He wants to work in us.”
Using John Bunyan’s allegory, e Pilgrim’s Progress, the Bishop encouraged all Christians to view life as a journey that is not concluded on this side of eternity, but in heaven. He warned us to avoid both cynicism and self-congratulation, and continue to walk with the Lord.
Thus, he suggested mobilising seniors in the church, as they are well-placed to mentor younger people and volunteer themselves for missions. However, he noted that we need to recruit volunteers at all levels, so that the whole church is mobilised for God’s mission.
Following the Bishop’s sermon, the Rev Philip Lim, Executive Director of the MMS, thanked supporters and partners for their faithful service. He screened a touching video on how the Student Sponsorship Scheme (SSS) was changing children’s futures for the better. It was one of the five projects that MMS is working on, and he presented appeals for:
• The annual top-up for the SSS (amounting to S$50,000);
• Funds to construct the Wesley Methodist Church and Methodist Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal (S$355,000 more);
• Funds to build Phase Two of the Vineyard Methodist School in ailand (S$390,000 more);
• Funds to build a Children’s Home and Training Centre in Huangshan, China (S$233,000 more);
• Two years’ operational cost for Stamford Consultancy, an English enrichment centre in Nanchang, China (S$20,000).
He invited all to join the MMS in its four tasks of winning, building, equipping and multiplying disciples for Jesus.
If you are interested in short-term or long-term volunteer opportunities for missions, please email Mr David Khew at email@example.com
Grace Toh is the Assistant Editor of Methodist Message.