Work while it is day

Dear BPCWA worshipper, In last week’s pastoral, we saw how things can change unexpectedly. When these changes happen, life can be so different from what we expect or have been used to. Things that we thought “would always be there” may not be there anymore. Opportunities that we thought we could “get to one day” can vanish abruptly. Even the government cannot predict in advance when a lockdown will occur, or when it will be lifted. Our lives are transient, and so are our opportunities. Knowing this, it is time to make changes.

Don’t procrastinate, recalibrate today. “God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods” (Jos 24:16). If we continue thinking that serving God and mammon is alright, we will never truly serve God when opportunities are readily available to us. Recalibrate today. Remember from our repeated experiences during this period – things can change suddenly. Don’t say “I will be serious about my faith after my children grow up”, “I will care for and help my brethren ‘one day’”, “I will fellowship ‘when I feel ready”, or “I will repent ‘later’”, or “there is always tomorrow”. “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Pr 27:1) Do it today while it is still possible and needed. Don’t delay. You can be a day or even an hour too late. Tomorrow may not come.

Do good today. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Ecc 9:10) 1) To one another. Has there been a brother or sister in Christ that you have wanted to encourage but was always “too busy”? Or a young believer that seemed to be wavering who hasn’t been coming regularly recently? Reach out today, before he is won over by winning smooth words to falsehood and turns against the truth. Perhaps there is someone in church whom you know is going through a period of sickness or weakness and needs help with transport or food. Add it to your schedule to help today while you have the strength and ability to drive or to cook. Someone once had an argument with his sister before she flew off. The next time he saw her was when the coffin was flown back. Don’t hope to do tomorrow what you didn’t do today but could have done. b) Return to God.  “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21) Have you been holding back on returning to God while you continue to enjoy the temporal pleasures of the world? If so, as you dip your hand into your pocket thinking of spending more at the next sale, first “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Mt 22:21) c) Serve today. Have you been turning down opportunities to serve? Have you been thinking of giving up your area of service, or have grown weary and tardy, or have been murmuring about having to serve? Have you been wondering “why is it always me who has to do this task at this time, why not someone else?” Have you been asked to do something, but turned it down because you felt that it would take you away from the free and easy and relaxed life and schedule that you have grown used to and like? Opportunities may not come again. Labour while it is yet day. Labour with all your might for our Lord.

But before you can gladly do good to one another, return to God, and serve today, are you saved? Are your children saved, have you spoken to them of the gospel? Are you sure that they have humbly and truly accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and that their life testifies of the Holy Spirit indwelling them?

Grow, worship and fellowship well now. Grow in your spiritual advancement and worship now. Have you not been regular at church and weekday meetings, thinking that it will always be there for “that day” when you want or need it or when you “are ready” to grow? Are you ready to forsake coming for Worship Service because of work commitments that really are not unforeseen urgent matters, or because you wish to go for social or optional activities, or simply because you didn’t feel like it that day? Learn a lesson from how we have not been able to have a physical family camp for two years running now. Don’t take things for granted that every Bible study and church activity will always be there all the time. While we pray earnestly that God will preserve BPCWA, don’t assume that “there will always be church” for when it tickles our fancy. Our parents’ generation learned through hard experience that even an established system backed by the government’s infrastructure like schools could be disrupted through war. Be earnest in praising God and listening to His Word with us at every Lord’s Day Service. Start being a part of God’s people in church. Start taking FEBC courses. Start doing your quiet time and take your family worship seriously.  Grow today, so you will be ready when the “night” comes. Do you avoid coming to church for fear of falling ill, or do you think that you’d better not sing too zealously in case you inhale a COVID virus from someone? Remember our past pastorals – we must fulfil our human responsibility, but God is sovereign over the affairs of man, especially that of His children. Render to Him the praise that is due to His mighty Name, for He has formed us for His praise. Sing with all your heart to the Lord while you pray “O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise” (Ps 51:15). Do not run off after services. Come and fulfil your priestly duties of offering prayers for the church and others on Tuesday in His house of prayer. A sickness may hit you such that you may no longer be able to sing or fellowship or pray with others anymore – then as you lie on the sick bed, how you’ll yearn to be able to praise God together with the congregation of the saints.  Don’t look back on your life and think – if only I worshipped, fellowshipped, served, and grew then when I could … but now I can’t and it’s too late. Don’t think “I wish there is a sound church” when you really didn’t bother about the sound church when it was readily available to you. Treasure the soundness of the church and the blessedness of worship today by being part of God’s visible witness and people in church, and start by being there.

Work for the night is coming! Given all the reminders from our recent sudden lockdowns, let us emulate our Saviour,

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day:
the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

Yours in our Lord’s service,