From A Shepherd’s Heart (17 June 2020)
By Dawn Puah
As we maintain a prayerful heart, let’s hear from one of our staff today and reflect on God’s Word from her.
Opening Song: Reward
“Come and be my exceedingly great rewardReward, Josh Yeoh
You’re the treasure that I would give my whole life for
What would it profit me to gain the world but lose my soul?
I know my life is not my own”
If we haven’t met, I’m Dawn Puah, Carmel’s Communications staff. I joined the staff team in July 2019 after graduation from NTU. In this brief post, I reflect on God’s grace in setting me on this course, and a couple of things He taught me along the way. I hope it encourages you to reflect on your own journey with the Lord and pursue Christ as your treasure above all.
I grew up in Carmel and before January last year, the thought of working in church had never crossed my mind. “But God, who ordains men of His own choosing and moves in them to the accomplishment of His eternal purposes, had other plans.” – Jim Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor (Great book by the way, I highly recommend!)
My journey of serving God in a more official capacity began at 15 after a series of youth leaders’ training sessions. We were asked to choose a committee to serve in – worship, fellowship, evangelism, or as a befriender to newcomers. But because I was shy and generally lacking in talent, I only had eyes for the AV corner, where I was most comfortable because I didn’t have to talk to people, so that’s where I started, clicking slides.
Over the years, God pulled me out of my comfort zone into years of growth through serving Him in different ways – organising fellowship events, equipping the youths for evangelism, and discipleship in small groups. Each new step was taken with excitement and trepidation, and as I soon discovered, wow, serving God is really hard work. But each time God gave us a glimpse of gospel growth among us, we were filled with joy in Him that made it all worthwhile.
Yet, as if God hadn’t given enough reason to serve Him wholeheartedly, my response to opportunities to serve Him was hardly: “Here I am, send me!” It was more often than not something along the lines of: “God, I’ll serve you if I have the time. God, if I do well in my studies then I’ll serve You more. God, I’ll serve You if it doesn’t cost me much.” Does this sound familiar to you?
Now, God was challenging me even further. When the opportunity to work full-time in church came up, I hardly considered it at first. But oh my, when I did seriously think about it, there was so much more to consider! What would it cost? I counted it. I made lists of pros and cons. I spent the next months seeking God in prayer, reflecting on how I was living in relation to God, resolving to obey His words in John 12:23-36, and speaking to other Christians in full-time ministry, all while interviewing for other jobs I hardly spent time praying about! Why are we so quick to rush into jobs highly-esteemed to the world, but so slow when it comes to serving the Most High God? It reveals where our treasures are – and where our heart is.
God also brought to mind Matthew 13:44: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” It was clear that serving God this way was the best use of my gifts and the door was wide open. God was asking me, “what are you waiting for?” When you find treasure, you give up all you have & go after it wholeheartedly.
The journey was one of surrender and I saw how God changed my orientation from living life for myself and occasionally saying, “ok la, God if you call me then I go” to saying, “God, your way, your agenda” to eventually coming into the role with joy because Christ was my treasure and I was going after Him.
Eleven months into the job and nearly four months into Covid-19, I thank God for His presence that has always been with me, strengthening me through His word daily, for the media team who encourages me and reminds me that the work God is doing is far bigger than myself, and for the youth leaders who invested in my growth and then let me hide in the Chapel’s AV booth 9 years ago, not knowing it would open the door to all this… God’s ways are really higher than our ways.
There is so much of God to know, so much of Him to enjoy, and so much for us to grow in Christ-likeness, if we only paused to listen to God’s heart, gaze at the cross (see what it cost Him!), and obey Him as Lord and King.
I leave you with Jesus’ words in John 12:23-26: Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.