A Word from the Dean

I would like to share with you this week on the Joy of Giving. Many years ago, after a massive flood devastated large areas of Dhaka, Bangladesh, I was leading a mission team whose aim was to distribute relief packages to the thousands who were affected. Many Singaporeans donated money which was sent to Rev Michael Adhikari, an alumnus of the Discipleship Training Centre, who organized the whole operation. Several hundred kilos of rice were bought, cooking oil, medicines, de-worming tablets for children and other essentials were prepared and we set off in motorised sampans (little boats) to visit the affected areas. I was no stranger to Dhaka, having done mission work there for more than ten years. It was a new experience for me to be travelling by water over terrain that was formerly hilly. We passed hundreds of people who congregated on what were formerly peaks of hills. It was eerie as our boats glided silently across the water. We arrived at our destination. People spotted us and rushed to the water’s edge. Quickly lines were formed and each person was handed a card entitling him to receive one package of rice, medicines, etc. We stopped a distance from the water’s edge (there was no shore or even jetty) as it was dangerous if the crowd had stampeded and our boat would have capsized. A short speech in Bangladeshi was given identifying us as Christians from Singapore giving aid to the people who were mostly Muslims.

Then they came, one by one. They shook hands with me and with another co-leader of the team who was in the other boat. A large package was handed to me and I in turn gave it to the person. The joy on their faces were evident and it deeply moved us as we saw the plight of these unfortunate persons who lost all their belongings in the flood. Later that evening we went to a school compound and we watched as people hovered over cooking pots boiling rice and some simple food. Inside the classrooms we saw several children eating from one plate of rice without meat and just some strands of vegetables. Some children lay on mats and their limbs protruded like sticks from their body. How pathetic! But it was comforting for us to be able to do something good for these people.       

Have you done something lately that made you feel really good? If you were to sit down and write out a cheque for BGST or for some work of the Lord, you may have mixed feelings. On the one hand you may begin to feel the pinch financially especially if you parted with a large sum of money. But on the other hand you may feel good that you have been able to do something useful for God.

I would like to share with you a principle of giving that may on the surface seem to be illogical. But to those who have experienced it, there is profound truth in it: the more you give, the more you will receive.  

It is a fact that, apart from a few persons who give out of their abundant wealth, most of the giving in churches come from people who are not rich. Week after week, month after month, they give faithfully from their meagre means, sometimes parting even with the last few dollars in their possession. But God showers upon them His blessings and they do not suffer any lack when they give God their tithes. In organizations where money is often scarce, the joy of seeing how God supplies funds in the nick of time, especially when there is a large building fund to look after is incomparable. One generous donor commented once to me: I helped God build one house (a new church); God enabled me to buy more houses. He was referring to the fact that when he parted with large sums of money, God turned the tide and his business did so well that he was able to purchase several properties.

Of course I am not advocating that one should be reckless about giving away money. It is sometimes necessary to trim expenses, cut costs, and be extra careful especially in avoiding unnecessary extravagance. Christians are expected to be good stewards of what God has given to them.

How are you giving to God’s work? Will God be pleased if you are willing just to part with the loose cash in your pocket? And when you are absent on a particular Sunday, do you conveniently skip giving God what is due to Him? The Bible has a word for that: robbing God!

The joy of giving to God’s work is mentioned time and again in the Bible. When the tabernacle was being built during the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites after they left Egypt, Moses had to tell the people to stop giving because enough has been contributed. The Prophet Malachi challenged the people to give of their tithes to God. “Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it.” 

Thank God for those who are able to give and continue giving. Every church and every organization that gives liberally to the work of God will find that the more they give to God, the more He blesses them. And that is a fact. Our God is not poor. Money should never be an issue in the work of God. When God’s people set their mind to do something for God, God honours that desire and He will surely supply all their needs - not their wants - according to His riches in glory.

True, God’s work always seems to be in need of money. From man’s standpoint this can be a burden. But our perspective needs to be changed. Someone has rightly observed that “David saw Goliath not as a threat too big to hit, but as a target too big to miss.”

Recently we launched our Gideon’s Army Appeal, which is intended to help BGST reduce and clear our Building Loan as well as the repayment of interest-free gifts. May I urge all our readers to respond to this Appeal. May God give you the joy of giving to BGST!

Gideon’s Army Update 

Concerned supporters of BGST have been asking us, “So how is your Building Fund?” We have launched a Building Fund Appeal nicknamed “Gideon’s Army” to repay not only our original $3.2 million loan to enable us to purchase No.31 Tanjong Pagar Road but also to repay the interest-free loans that have been given to us for this purpose. Events like the recent Golf Tournament help us bring down those big numbers. But our main strategy is taken from a story in the Bible when Gideon was able to defeat a powerful coalition of enemy forces with a very small army of barely 300 soldiers. Thank God this week 6 new soldiers were added. If you do not know what this is all about and have not received a brochure why not call us for a copy of this Appeal letter. 

We recommend… 

This is a new feature of BGST This Week. BGST Bookshop is pleased to offer from its stock of goodies directly imported from Israel a unique mousepad, which is a facsimile of Albert Einstein’s 1912 Manuscript on the Special Theory of Relativity. Cost: only $10. Hurry! The stock is limited.

Chapel Notes

Chapel speaker on March 7, this Wednesday is Dr Augustine Pagolu. On March 14 the speaker will  be Dr Quek Swee Hwa, who will show some slides of his recent mission trip to Guatemala City, especially the work among the aboriginal Mayans.

News Bits 

  • Vocation, Work & Ministry (MM101, 3 credits, video), starting Tue, Mar 13, 7.30-9.30pm. Lecturer: Prof. Paul Stevens/Mr John Chong Ser Choon.

  • Contextual Hermeneutics: Reading the Bible in the Asian Context (HE210, 1.5 credits), starting Fri, Mar 30 (new date), 7.30-9.30pm. Lecturer: Dr Augustine Pagolu.

  • The Psalms through the History of the Church (OT214/CH370, 3 credits), Guest Lecturer: Prof James Houston. This intensive course covers 8 double-lecture sessions on Apr 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16; time: 7.15-10.15pm.

  • Romans: The Gospel According to Paul (NT311, 1.5 credits, video), starting Sat, Apr 7, 4.00-5.30pm at Bishan campus. Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa.

  • *Greek Homiletics (BG252, 1.5 credits), starting Sat, Apr 7, 2.00-3.30pm, at Bishan campus. Lecturer: Dr Quek Swee Hwa.

  • Zechariah Elective (OT364, 1.5 credits), starting Tue, Apr 17, 7.30-9.30pm. Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite.

  • Culture Research (ME257, 3 credits, video), starting Tue, Apr 17, 7.15-10.15pm. Lecturer: Dr Miriam Adeney/Dr Ng Peh Cheng.

  • *Better Speech for Leadership & Ministry (AT231, 1.5 credits), starting Wed, Apr 18 (new date), 7.30-10.00pm. Lecturer: Rev Ng Seng Chuan.

  • *Counselling Skills: Pre-Marital Counselling (CO232, 1.5 credits), starting Thu, May 3, 7.15-10.15pm. Lecturer: Mr Song Cheng Hock.

* Courses marked with an asterisk are not offered on audit basis. Visit our website for the course descriptions. Registration is open for all courses. You can register on-line or send us an email at bgst@pacific.net.sg



A Blessed Birthday to…

Ms Eulian Lee  12/3

Mr Matthew Yap  14/3

Pastor Vincent Lun  15/3

Mr Simon Ting  15/3

Mr Kenneth Tan  15/3

Mdm Bessie Ng  16/3

Mr Paul Yap  16/3

Mr Tan Chek Wu  17/3

Dr David Wong  18/3

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Last update : Tuesday, March 06, 2007  
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