Culture

The privilege of peace

Jovy Sim // December 13, 2017, 6:48 pm

Still

I asked my Heavenly Father, “What did I do to be so fortunate to live in a part of the world where there’s peace every day?”

As I sat down to give thanks to the Lord one night, I thanked Him for the roof that I had over my head, clean water, health, and the peace that I enjoy in this country. I told the Lord that I do not want to take any of these things for granted, for they do not come to everyone.

During a recent trip to Myanmar, I had to walk across the border from Thailand to Myanmar on a bridge that connected the two countries. It was an unbearably hot afternoon; my head was pounding from being under the scorching sun for the past 20 minutes or so.

Yet, the bridge was filled with homeless people sitting on the roadside with their young children, probably for the past many hours and the hours to come. The older kids followed us, begging for money. Their clothes had holes in them, and they were walking barefooted on the hot and stony cement ground.

It occurred to me that my peaceful living conditions are also a resource that God has given me to love people with.

I couldn’t help but wonder: What do their futures hold? Do they have dreams that they want to fulfil? Do they have time to dream when they are just trying to survive?

And that led me to this thought: What is the purpose of me being born in Singapore, that I may enjoy the privileges of peace and education?

It is not by merit which country or family you are born into. How does this fit into the big picture of a just and sovereign God who is all-loving?

The Parable of Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) came to mind. Our gifts and talents are a resource that God has given to us to steward. We are responsible for developing them with diligence. They are tools that God has given us to love people with.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

For example, if you are an engineer, you can innovate low-cost water filtration systems to help those with no access have clean water; or if you are a medical doctor, you can volunteer to provide treatment for those who cannot afford it. If you speak English, you can teach those who don’t so that they have access to better livelihoods.

It occurred to me that my peaceful living conditions are also a resource that God has given me to love people with. There is so much that we can do with the conduciveness of peace. It grants us focus, education and prosperity. How does God want us to steward the privilege of peace that He has given us?
I don’t want to be so caught up in my comfortable bubble that I lose sight of those who need help. I don’t want to keep looking at what more I can achieve for myself or do to make my life better. I don’t want to withhold any help if it can bless another person’s life.

Can we start thinking about what others don’t have, and how we can give them what we have?

In fact, Singapore is geographically close to many less developed countries. This makes connecting with those in need a bit more affordable, a great opportunity that is given to us to bless others. Surely, God must have prospered this Southeast-Asian nation for a greater purpose. We are blessed to bless.

Can we think about what we have, instead of what we don’t have? Can we start thinking about what others don’t have, and how we can give them what we have?

Can we prioritise fighting for the needs of those who need it urgently instead of fighting amongst ourselves? Can our privilege of peace be used for good?

We only need so little to survive. There’s enough to go around.

“And don’t forget to do good and share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” (Hebrews 13:16)