What was the most important thing you did during the circuit breaker?
Jacqueline Lie // June 1, 2020, 6:32 pm
During the circuit breaker, I’ve recognised a major personal flaw: I am a restless person. I attribute it to my “Singaporean-ness“.
We are always looking for things to do, even amidst work-from-home and other home duties. We have to learn new skills, attend webinars on investing, sign up for workout sessions, Zoom-meet our various groups of friends, camp online to place an order for brownies from that home-baker…
Speaking of baking, we all know how quickly baking items flew off supermarket shelves in the first week of the circuit breaker as more people started baking to pass the time.
But on the bright side, looking for things to do motivated many towards altruistic activities, especially volunteering at the front-lines – bringing food to families, helped with temperature-taking measures, or conducting swab-tests. Thank God for everyone who stepped up and stepped out.
But what about those of us who were unable to help because our situations did not permit so? Going out to volunteer for some meant a risk of bringing the infection back to a home with elderly family members.
Some may not have the means to help, whether it is having the finances to spare or just a car to help with food distribution. Perhaps we really aren’t as courageous as frontline workers.
Do you feel “small” because your contribution to COVID-19 relief efforts has not been as significant as others?
SMALL THINGS WITH GREAT LOVE
Take some time to read the book of Ruth. Although she gets an entire book about in the Bible, Ruth was actually a “small” character in the eyes of the Israelites – she was a foreigner and also a widow.
Her story is simply one of survival after her Israelite husband passes away and she decides to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, also a widow – gleaning in the fields for their daily bread, listening to Naomi’s advice to be remarried as per Jewish custom.
She would have been just another woman but for her faithfulness to her mother-in-law and the God of Israel, she is forever included in the genealogy of King David as his great-grandmother, and further down the line, Jesus.
I’m not saying that we will all produce future kings – my point is, God is not limited by what we think we can do. He can use us in ways we can hardly imagine. You may serve best digitally, perhaps in meeting people, teaching or even counselling others online. Not everyone needs to be out there “on the front lines”.
There’s no need to compare what you are able to do or even what you choose to do with your resources. This next story in Matthew 26 reminds us of how a resource can be used very differently by different people, yet both choices are counted as valuable.
“Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, ‘Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.’
“But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.’
“‘Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:6-13)
The needs are always there. But God has given us different stations, different roles in different parts of this world. Our job is to obey Him as He leads us, to have hearts so rested in Him we can hear Him when He calls.
Another popular story of Mary and her sister Martha comes to mind.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’
“But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42)
Interestingly, this story of Mary and Martha comes right after the parable of the Good Samaritan. After sharing about how we are called to help our neighbours, here we hear Jesus saying “but one thing is necessary”.
I have wondered why this incident was so significant that it was recorded, but I dare say it cuts across time and is one of the most “relevant” passages for the millennial Christian. For so often today, we are Martha, anxious and troubled about many things. Yet, we lose sight of our first priority as Christians – to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to what He is saying.
START FROM A PLACE OF PEACE
To those of us feeling restless in this stay-home season, here is an appeal to find our rest in Jesus, from St Augustine’s book, Confessions: “Because You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee.”
It is only when our hearts are rested in Jesus, only then can we listen out for the task – be it big or small – that we are called to do in obedience.
Perhaps you are like me or Martha, often restless and lacking focus. Perhaps, then, this stay-home season is a time to simply sit at the feet of Jesus. And when the time comes when God says, “Go!” you are able to run well – having found a blessed assurance in Jesus.
THINK + TALK
- Do you feel pressured to do a “performance rating” on how you spent your time and resources during the circuit breaker?
- As the circuit breaker comes to a close, what are some good habits you cultivated, especially in your time with God?
- What has the Lord been calling you to do in this “new normal”?