Written by Mervin Prakash
I would like to begin with this verse that inspired me during a personal retreat I had attended, earlier this year.
“Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness” – Genesis 15:6
Like many young Singaporeans, I strived to achieve success in the terms of how our society defines it. I worked towards success and have achieved some measure of it, by God’s grace. However, through it all, I could not help asking myself every day: is this what God really wants for me in my life? I think it is fundamental for us to ask ourselves: am I living a life that is right by my faith in Christ in each and every situation and moment of my life? Or am I merely swayed by what society or even my family thinks I should do?
The key to a healthy Christian life is when we begin to allow our faith to overcome our unworthiness.
If we fail to recognise God in our daily living, we will lose this battle. We are declared righteous by faith alone while we are in this state of sin and unworthiness. Therefore, why fight when we have God on our side?
“If God is with us who can be against us”? (Romans 8:31)
Every gift and talent given whether big or small is meant to be used to serve others.
The discovery of the gifts and talents bestowed upon me was the starting point to my relationship with Jesus. This does not exclusively refer to spiritual gifts; it includes the natural talents we have. Awareness of this is important, as it is only then that we can humble ourselves to seek a deeper and more spiritual relationship with God. And, this, in turn renders the whole combination of all the gifts and talents we have even more formidable.
Many times, I struggle to find time to serve in ministry. This is mainly due to my work, as I have an irregular work schedule. The photo above is one that I took at work and cherish, because it is a beautiful reminder that even in lowest and darkest moments of spirituality, God cuts through all that to show me that He is greater than the pain or sinfulness that I’m struggling with. And this was so evident to me in the image of the beautiful rays of sunlight and scattered clouds. This also reminds me of one of my sought after scripture text.
“I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come”? (Psalms 121:1)
For me, this text comes alive as I look towards the ‘sky’. “From where shall my help come from”?
“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”. (Psalms 121:2)
Indeed, how wonderful it is that we can find answers to our wanderings through the bible.
Always remain prayerful
When we avoid to spend time in prayer or make the effort to build our relationship with God, we will miss all the moments where He gives us tangible and visible signs of assurance and encouragement- and we will be all the poorer for it.
Ultimately, I feel very blessed to be able to use my natural gifts of good motor skills to have a job that allows me to have a peek of creation at its best. To me, these awe-inspiring moments are God’s way of nourishing my dry spirit, so that when I’m back on His land, my spirit and mind will be fully recharged. That being said, nothing replaces the receiving of the Sacraments to strengthen my weak and dry body!
For our faith to be alive, we need to be extremely conscious of God’s presence in every step that we take and place we are at
The effort to recognise God’s presence in everything is especially important to practice at our workplaces as for many of us, it is where we spend a significant proportion of our day at, and where we are with people who are not of our faith.
I have been amazed by God many times for giving me the time to use my gifts in music to serve many groups – especially in OYP – through worship, in spite of my unstable roster schedule. Truly, if we use our time and energy wisely, He will give us more. We are stewards of our gifts and talents; how will we manage them?
“Now it is of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Constant awareness of why we do good works
Abraham was well known for his many great works, most famously for his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. But were his works for his own gain that he could boast of his own glory? The moment we start to think our good works warrant rewards from God, we have begun to boast and glorify ourselves. Ultimately, there is no merit in such thinking. This was not what Abraham did.
For Abraham, his faith was credited as righteousness. His faith alone. What I learned from him is that Abraham turned to God for His grace and mercy. He turned away from his unworthiness and looked to God in his hopelessness. He found the grace that allowed him to stand side by side with God.
It is important to note that we do not just gain graces and blessings from God through our good works, but by the way we respond to our faith, where we stand side by side with God. It really sounds very demanding, doesn’t it?
How then can we be forgiven, accepted, and made righteous, without being overwhelmed by the challenges of living this faith and the feelings of unworthiness? Only by acknowledging Jesus as our Lord and trusting in Him through every step of our way can we do so. And how better than to do so than through the Sacraments, especially through the Eucharist – the source of peace and healing!