Sunday, July 25, 2010


by Georgina Sam & David Wang

Published by Asian Outreach International in 2007, this book chronicles the true life experiences of three Christians in China - an older pastor Mingyen Chen, a younger Lili Tang, and Saimen Liang. Of course, these must be pseudonyms but what's real is the sense of selflessness in their lives that I find both compelling and arresting. Each of the three protagonists live with a driving passion greater than the banality of present hardships, a degree of practicality and spontaneity that makes their spirituality real, and courage that sets the mature apart from the immature.

Over the weekend, Pastor Steven Tay spoke on the spiritual maturity of believers. One of three markers of spiritual maturity he mentioned is the extent to which we are other-centred. He quoted James 2:8, 'If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.' Sad to say, many treat it as a postscript and an afterthought rather than a headline and banner in their lives.

Off late, I find myself thinking about some good people who are unfortunately very self-centred. These are folks with a God-given heart for others but have extreme challenges fitting selfless love for others into their lives. They struggle with everything in their lives, are constantly pre-occupied with the details of their lives, and yet having an 'altogether' life or meaningful and enjoyable relationships appear elusive to them. They genuinely want to help others yet inside and outside, their lives are in tatters.
Yet, there's something about spending time with others who habitually give of themselves in small and smaller ways that reminds you of the purpose of life and relationships, and that energizes you to do the same. Another pastor, spurring the congregation to come together for prayer on 8th August, also reminded us that it is not how much we can do and how big an impact we can make individually that matters, but what we can do when we are called to do it that is important.  

This book will energize you to return to the purpose for which you are created - to serve people in big, small and smaller ways. Pastor Steven said, "We're only fully alive when we serve others." This is a familiar truth that many speakers and authors have quoted, and I believe no one can truly claim to be the original author of something that bears an universal truth. 

There is surely hope for the self-engrossed if he shows interest in the messages from 'Still Red' or 'The Hole in the Gospel', and find the world a bigger place than the circumference of his own shadow.

Where you can get it: S$25.00 Asian Outreach Singapore tel: 6334-7774 ISBN13: 978-962-216-000-2 [published 2007]
Level of impact: Enlarges what is important in life that gives no place for a life of pleasurable self-obsession and its accompanying pettiness toward others in myself & others.
Timing of book: At a time when I am also reading a World Vision publication 'The Hole in the Gospel' which is about how to touch the poor and needy in real terms.