The Prodigal Daughter
Matthew 6:1-24: Treasures in Heaven
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
This were the very words that brought me back to church and God in April 2011, and they will be the same reminder in this new season.
So this being my first post here, I will give a brief background to what I am doing right now. I am an analyst working in a large company. I have been here since graduation just over two years ago and so much has changed between then and now. There is so much to tell about my journey in the past two years with (and without) God, but for the sake of this post I will keep it short.
By mid-2017 I was growing weary of the job here and questioning my purpose in my role. Was I walking in God’s destiny in my job here? But I rationalized these thoughts away, telling myself that by staying humble and living righteously that I was showing His character in the marketplace.
These thoughts never stopped.
But I reminded myself that my promise to God was that I would stay in this job until He calls me elsewhere. He would have to call me, and I would not make the decision to leave without an offer.
That offer came from my dream company (in the same industry) in October 2017. I was having dinner with my cell leader and church friends in Club Med Bali and I got a call. It felt too good to be true. Something that only God could orchestrate.
When I returned to Singapore, my current company offered me a permanent position (yes I was on contract for the past two years!). Was this God’s validation that I would have to stay in this role? Should I interview for the other? Nothing was clear but I took up the permanent position while giving my best for the interview. I was not “cheating” on my company. I was rolling with the punches.
Things went so smoothly for the interviews. I built such good rapport with the local team and the head of department. Progressed through round 1, round 2... round 3 came and I had a written test. And the best part? I knew ALL THE ANSWERS! It was a case I had worked on before.
I was poised for success. But God switched the gears.
I was told the requirements for the role had changed. The people who interviewed me in the first two rounds apologized profusely and (I’d like to think) genuinely wanted me for the role. I was disappointed.
I spent the next few days questioning my worth and what I had done wrong.
But then something clicked. God had given me the opportunity to interview. The fact that I was even approached to interview was a validation of my efforts. That God would give me a “holding reply” in the form of a permanent job with great employee benefits, was the best waiting room I could be held in.
I festered in this pity-party for too long.
Matthew 6:25-34: Do Not Worry
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Fast forward to this time in the year.
I knew that my time here was coming to an end. I just knew.
But what would I do if I left? I have good bosses, what if I am unable to find someone with the same ethic? What if the next place has bad culture? What if I cannot earn as much?
As the what-ifs kept piling up, I found myself moving further and further away from leaving.
And yet I was not fulfilling my destiny. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS CHEESY. But as a child of God we all have a destiny. And this is summed up in the Great Commission to various groups as mentioned in a sermon by Joseph Chean.
The Great Commission for 3 Groups
1. Every Individual (Mark 16:15)
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
2. Poor and Needy (Matthew 25:40)
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
3. All-Nations, Communities and Areas of Society (Matthew 28:19)
Go and make disciples of all Nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and surely I will be with you always until the very end of the age.”
That’s the checklist.
And if what I am doing now does not reach these people, what the hell am I doing?
What’s Holding me Back?
1. But God, I thought you called me to this industry?
Beyond being an overseas missionary, we are also “sent” to our workplaces where God’s light has been shrouded. Conquer the land we tread before we conquer our neighbors isn’t it? Furthermore, this job was God-given. I cannot explain how I even got the opportunity to land a job here and be mentored by such amazing people. And little golden nuggets along the way have only served to affirm God's call for me to be here.
Thoughts like this keep me in my job, but what if I cannot make much of a dent where I am? The land has been tested and the surface has barely a scratch. Time is short and we must move on to the unreached.
And to all things there is a season. Perhaps my season here is up. But I don't want to be the one who makes that call. And the danger is that I want to run even before God teaches me to walk.
2. So I have to give up my lifestyle?
Yes the whole parable in Matthew 19 of the rich man who would not let go of his riches to follow Jesus comes to mind. But this has been a legitimate concern, to at least match my parent’s income to support them and make them proud of who I am. But Ron Sawka’s message of Elijah’s double portion of anointing (2 Kings 2:9) was an affirmation that I did not have to worry about provision.
I may not get a double portion of financial anointing but I claim and declare a two-fold blessing.
3. I don’t like uncertainty
And I sure don’t like to wait. My life is like a series of check boxes. Be a good daughter, serve in church, get to a good Junior College, a good University, career success, etc. The unchecked boxes (i.e. relationship, family, job prospect, etc.), they bother me.
God is teaching me to find satisfaction in the unchecked boxes. He is teaching me to tell Him, “surprise me”. To “not worry”, and live by faith and excitement of the future He already has planned.
As I head on into a new season to explore all my options (before I turn 30 god-forbid), I have one determination. “God, lead me.”
I am done trying to search for God in the voice of men. Yes people may have their opinions and they may be very informed and very apt, but nothing beats hearing from the man Himself. That’s when you can walk forward without a shadow of a doubt. Imagine how liberating that would be!
To round off, some things have been falling into place (or at least seem to be) but I really don't want to jump the gun and say that I know what will lie ahead.
I have a habit of running by bits of what I think I should do next with people I think know my situation, can empathise, and can advise. But this is what I think. And I don't want their advice (if heeded and gone awry) to interfere with my decision, or be a reason for me to push the blame of failure. I am done looking for the voice of God in the voice of man.
I want to hear God's voice loud and clear and know that I can walk in full faith and conviction on the path ahead.
I will be seeking in this season, and I am thoroughly excited at the path ahead. YES, I am terrified to bits. But I know this will all go away when the next step is clear.
Because if you can't see the path ahead, go as far as you can see.