Monday, October 10, 2011

The Right Place To Be

It's been months after I've started work, and there's always one thing that makes me envy Singaporeans. Not in the 'green in the face' way, but just a longing to have something they have: the privilege to go home from work everyday back to their families. In fact once a colleague told me she hasn't the desire to get married yet just because after that she won't be able to eat her mother's home-cooked dinner. I was thinking how lucky she is being able to eat with her family every day, and even after she's married they won't be too far away.

I go back home once a month now, and it seems like the weekend has barely passed when it is in fact already over. I've always asked myself why: why do I end up studying and working somewhere in a place away from home. For money? For career development? It's not like there are no jobs in Tampin. I know I'll be a flop in business but at least teaching might not be too disastrous if it's the only way for me to be able to spend all my life at home. (Although I'm not exactly cut out to be a teacher but I guess MOE won't fire me.)

I don't know why I did this long ago: maybe it just seemed OK because everyone is doing it. But now I'm here and I'm doing all this and I guess it's not easy to turn back. And it's not the first time, after saying so many hellos and goodbyes in life, that I wish all my family, relatives and friends could all stay localized in one place and I'll never lose touch of people so easily.

However last Sunday some volunteers from Logos Hope came to our church to share about how they went abroad the ship to volunteer. I don't know how this idea came about: but I somehow had this feeling that God doesn't desire His children to be localized. In fact we are supposed to share His gospel 'until the ends of the earth'.

Maybe that's why I came here to study and work. To meet people. To learn from them, love them, and share our lives together. No matter how you put it, I don't believe that it's God's will for us to 'pursue a career', or study in some discipline because you're made for that. God's will is all about people's lives and souls, not about us learning something and using that something to earn money so that we can survive in the remaining decades of our lives. Or gaining personal satisfaction, or even public acknowledgement.

By saying this I do not mean that the interests and the desire for knowledge is carnal and useless in the kingdom of God. But they must be used in the purpose of expanding His kingdom, and for His glory, not for personal gain. Teachers, architects, doctors, engineers, secretaries etc, all have a role in their professions in ministering to people, and making a difference to the people around them. But the fruits of their work is also largely influenced by the fact which is who they work for. Is it for the organization, for themselves, for their bosses, or for God?

Sometimes I tend to be disillusioned and work merely for mammon, because that is the talk on everyone's tongue and the measuring yard in everyone's hand. Sometimes I get disillusioned too, and work for progress because I feel that's where everyone who pinned hopes on me desires me to be. Sometimes I am disillusioned and work for stability, because I like to feel safe and secure. And sometimes I feel helpless when I know that I'm supposed to be working for a greater purpose, to genuinely love others, to be responsible, to maintain integrity, to glory God in all I do - yet I fall short.

It is still an uphill battle. I'm still struggling, and just feels heavy on my shoulders at times. But I thank God that I'm not alone, and He will work it out eventually. I thank God for this chance of seeing the weaknesses in my character as they are continuously revealed, learning not to be scared of them, and learning how to become better. I thank God for the chance to see and admire the strength and love in others, and learn from them too.

I thank God that I come to Singapore for a purpose He knows. It is possible that in the future I may be even oceans further away from home too, but I trust that wherever it is, it is the right place if He wants me there. And most of all, I trust Him to hide each member of my family under His wings in His tender loving care no matter where each of us may be.

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