Tanggal 31…Bulan lapan lima puluh tujuh…’ It was just a simple Merdeka Celebration, but the air was filled with high spirits. I can feel the excitement in the voices of our friends in United Voice, a center for the people with learning disabilities. On that very moment, I was affirmed that I’ve made a right choice to obey and do what He has asked me to.
Being the social concern head in PKV wasn’t part of my plan of what I want to do in UM. Having come from a Chinese Buddhism background, I used to be keen in doing social works, hoping that it would help me to pay my debts of sin and to collect merits to have a better lifetime. As God came into my life years later, I came to realize that there is nothing I can do that could make me a better person and that Jesus the Lamb of God have taken my place as a sacrifice, and I received His unconditional love. I was released from my past baggages, and enjoy the salvation that is free for all.
Sadly, however, in my early walks with God, I’ve somehow gone to another extreme that social works shall be given less priority. Well, you don’t need those to get yourself to heaven, I thought, Christians should then put more effort in evangelizing and save souls. That is why I was struggling hard when I first started as the social concern head. I was utterly clueless of what I should do! However, I choose to be obedient to His plan. It was through the journey and helping hands along the way that I start to see the importance of social works.
How wrong could I be! The truth is that social concern and evangelism must come hand in hand in order to transform the community. Jesus never excludes His people from their social responsibilities. In fact, He mandated us to do that.
‘For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me…For I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25:42-45
‘If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth’ 1 John 3: 17
How can we who claimed ourselves as Christians whom love God choose to be ignorant to the needs of our neighbours? How do we show people that our God is love, if we who are loved first, do not have the capacity to love?
I’m sure many of us are familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan:
‘A man……fell into he hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite……passed through the other side. But a Samaritan……when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds……and took care of him.’ Luke 10:30-34
Three of the man saw the need of the victim, but only the Samaritan choose to take action. How many times, have we been the priest or the Levite?
We’ve visited United Voice this semester. We’ve heard their needs and feelings, we’ve explored into their worlds. But is that all? The answer is no. Let me encourage all of you to engage yourself into some area of social works which you feel the burden. The opportunities are everywhere! It can be signing up as a volunteer of Persatuan Mahasiswa Istimewa UM, reading for the blind, initiating a Gotong-royong in your faculty, helping out your coursemate who are struggling with tight finance, visiting an urban poor area near your house and etc. (be sensitive and creative, I’m just throwing out examples!J)
‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.’ Matthew 9:37
If we start to see each of the opportunity to help as an opportunity to spread God’s message of love, then perhaps we can understand the passage in this context. The need is great, are you willing to go out to meet it?
‘Merdeka…Merdeka…Merdeka!!!’ Deep inside my heart, I was grateful to my Father in Heaven, for I know that He has rewarded me much more than what I’ve given up.