In recent months, I have re-learned some of life's important lessons. They were picked up through conversations, listening to Christian speakers, and reading. Nothing dramatic occurred. it was just I, reviewing my life and pondering how to spend it in the years ahead. I intend to share some of those thoughts with you. It will be anecdotal and hopefully not desultory.
I turn 45 next year and have served the SAF [Singapore Armed Forces] for 25 years, and in my usual habit to keep short accounts, have again reflected on what I have achieved to date and hope to achieve in the future. Keeping short accounts, or reviewing my life regularly, was taught me by an ex-SAF officer when we met in England more than 20 years ago. This friend has been a full-time Navigator staff for many years now. The practice of keeping short accounts always prompts me to seek God's guidance and directions for my future.
I used to imagine that with age and, hopefully, maturity, life's choices would become easier to make. But it does not seem to be so. They remain equally challenging to decide. But, as always, I reckon them to be happy problems to resolve. Some may appear to be vexatious but it helps, and I am fully aware, that in seeking God's will, He will always show me the way, and I need not feel troubled.
Having recently read a book on mentoring by a Christian author, I learned that when we need advice, it would be useful to learn from the very best. So, in this instance, I looked for people who are highly successful in their careers and have their spiritual lives in order to find out how best to deal with my future, which might include preparing for a possible change in career.
One of the very first persons I spoke to, a corporate chief and fervent Christian, advised me to pray. He said that there were many people driven by greed and it was important to seek God's direction for our life's work. It was not just a question of making a living, earning money, but doing something worthwhile. It struck me that whether I was going to continue serving in the SAF or change my career, it was not merely about being conscientious or entrepreneurial but about my personal motivation.
As an officer in the SAF, I have not had to work hard to achieve financial bottom-lines, but to do the best that I could to train the best soldier, officer, or unit. In the past two years, while handling public affairs matters, I have had to help project the good image of MINDEF and the SAF and explain their policies to the media and the public. Essentially it boils down to doing the best for the organisation without worrying about personal or organisational financial gains. But in most areas of the private sector that are profit-driven, making money would be paramount. Do not get me wrong. I do not disagree with making money, but was simply reminded that the motivation to do so is something that I should consider carefully.
Another person whom I spoke with, and who runs his own successful printing business, illustrated that since I am in my mid-forties, it is akin to having played the first half of a soccer match. He therefore advised that I should think carefully how I wish to play the second half. Soccer players and fans know that whatever the state of the first half, the second half has to be played well in order to end well. He asked me what I wanted to be remembered for, not for personal glory, but for the areas that I would have served Christ in and contributed to society. He also told me that while he had plans to grow his business a little more, he also had plans to sell it and go into full-time Christian work. His advice and sharing were sobering.
In June this year , I attended my church's annual camp at Kuantan. It was a refreshing week. The speakers were a married couple, both pastors, from New Zealand, and interestingly, they reminded the campers that we are human "beings" and not human "doings". We should not be so driven to do things but to serve as called. I took it that I should be mindful [that] the direction to take is where God calls me to go and not where I have rationalised I should proceed to. Otherwise, I would end up striving and doing things to achieve my own goals rather than serving where and being what I ought to be.
Subsequently, I read in David Watson's book, "Called and Committed", that, "The Christian church today suffers because so many of its members feel that they *have made a decision for Christ*, or that they *have chosen to join a certain church*. Such man-centred notions spell spiritual weakness and imbalance. It is only when we see ourselves as chosen, called, and commissioned by Christ that we will want to present our bodies to him as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God." He adds, "...thus our view of ourselves, as disciples who have been personally chosen by Jesus, should alter our whole attitude towards Him and motivate us strongly for the work which He has given us to do."
As I continue to work out my future, I am grateful for the little lessons and indications that God has given to enlighten and show me the way. I hope to see a happy outcome in this little episode of my life, and faithfully believe that in the weeks and maybe months ahead, He will gradually unravel the path that I should take. I am glad that I am walking in His will. Are you?
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