Heart Preparation to Serve the Poor – Part 1

By Rev. Gerard Seow

Gerard was called from an early age into full-time service through a divine encounter with the Lamb, both he, his wife and 4 daughters, serve the street communities in Singapore and believe in the unity of the church and the essential mission of every believer to extend the Kingdom of God in heart and mind.

Refining Fire

Revivals never just happen. Fire in the bones is always a happy result of faith that is active and never unemployed. ‘Begin with me’ is the most revival-friendly prayer you can pray. We can influence the world when we share in the story God is telling.

First the reformation is in me, then the outworking of prayer that proceeds from a changed me to an unchanged world that may, at first, be resistant to change, but then will have no choice but to likewise bend.

Every knee must bow, including mine, but also the unsanctified church culture that we have become accustomed to through years of neglect. But God has promised in the prophets that ‘He will restore the years the locust have eaten’ (Joel 2:25).

Embedded in our service to the poor is an idea that may not at first seem obvious. The heritage belonging to the gospel worker is rich with examples of pioneers who left their ivory towers to serve in places where no body else wanted to go.

And there they stayed, and there they made observations which fueled other expeditions, ever deeper and remote from the softness of home while suffering every kind of inhumanity, including disease, dirt and demons – risking all, even life and limb for the sake of the poor.

This is historical fact, the incarnate Christ Himself showing us the way. He left His glory and became one of us. And if we really love, we will give in a way that ‘hurts’ and we should wish never to be healed of such pain. A true work of God will cost everything is a maxim that can be debated but, as a truth it stands ‘tough as an anvil, though oft beaten.’

Enter into any village. Scan the opportunities. Then there comes a moment of tremendous courage.

Putting aside everything you have learnt, risking all, in that moment you understand that love compels and favor obligates: you reach out with your heart, you touch without knowing the consequence of that eternal moment, and – time stands still. A soul is won, a mind is changed forever – and history is rewritten.

When we were young, we prayed whenever and wherever. Now that we are older, our prayers must go where God wants to send them. Likewise, a man on the cross cannot look back. He has no option but to allow his ambitions, his career choices and bright future to be ruined permanently in the crucible of decision.

The Chinese have a peculiar method of cleaning snails to prepare them for table. They collect water from the highlands, the colder the better, and soak these critters for several hours alive in a frigid baptism of ice. Ultimately, it is in the purity of the plunge that causes those snails to spew out (vomit) the dirt and debris.

I am told the French employ a more radical, but no less cruel method that involves dislocation of the slug from its shell. Quickly, the knife removes the belly dirt and the body is blanched into a boiling cauldron. So choose, either the shock of the cold or the trauma of the hot, but without preparation nobody is going to put a snail in his mouth.

Likewise preparation for the front-lines of Christian service requires a radical re-calibration in the heart. Something has to happen first inside us before service can be accepted as Christian, bringing glory to God and not man. And, from an organizational viewpoint, this is what separates the men from the boys.

Ministries are always specific to callings and many are called. However not everyone is chosen. Brethren, we are not service providers! Charity is one thing, but the work of serving, whether it is to the poor or the downtrodden, takes a certain heart attitude that allows room for God to act.

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