30 August, Sunday — A Discerning Heart

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jer 20:7-9
Rm 12:1-2
Mt 16:21-27 

“Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you, but let your behaviour change, modelled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do.”

As we deal with the consequences of this pandemic — retrenchment, financial instability, mental health issues, family issues and mainly uncertainties in general — there is a sense of urgency in forming a plan to move forward, there is stress and pressure to create stability and the need for accountability to others and to oneself. But the reality is that there’s hardly any way we can predict what the short or long-term future might hold and which direction or path we now take. Which industry? Which skills to learn? And what’s more frustrating is seeing how some others have chosen the right boat that is sailing smoothly ahead during this difficult time.

In Singapore, I feel there is this unsaid expectation and standard that we aim to live up to, usually financially, where we determine if we have done enough for our loved ones and family. Sadly, we end up leaving Christ further behind in our priorities in the process.

As I started working in the corporate world, having left my position in church, I found myself being more secularised, the things I would say are more practical rather than spiritual. Spirituality has become merely a small part of my life, nowhere near being the most important. I miss the closer relationship I had with Christ but it’s also the constant battles with God’s will for me, my personal ambitions and being a responsible husband or son. How I wish they all pointed in the same direction.

I have no answer or inclination of where I’m heading, taking each step at a time, even though time seems to be moving much faster than usual. I know God is walking right beside me; or maybe He is already carrying me in His arms. I am certain of my identity, I am trusting in His plans for me but I have no idea how to tell this to the people around me, the people I love. I guess I can’t convince others if I myself am not convinced.

As in the readings today, it is about not trying to rely on yourself all the time, but to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, dedicated and acceptable to God. For maybe it is in the allowing God to take the wheel, that we will have a better sense of direction to where we hope to head towards.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)

Prayer: Lord, there are important choices and decisions to be made daily and we are clouded with the pressures, anxieties and stresses of life. Lord, we pray for a discerning heart, that we would not be distracted by what may seem more important but focus on what actually is. It is so difficult Lord, but help us to trust that you will guide us and lead the way, that your light will direct us to the path you best desire for us. We also pray for courage and perseverance to continue to chase after our dreams and to live out our identity as your children. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the people you have placed in our lives to support and listen to us during this difficult time. Thank you Lord, for always being there in so many different ways. Help us to always be grateful, loving and forgiving to others just as you are to us. Amen.

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