By Jimmy Ho
Some fifteen years ago, I received a fridge magnet that says, “You are blessed to be blessing,” so I am reminded everyday when I open my refrigerator door to always pass it forward. What a blessing it was to be at the Men’s Retreat with close to 90 other brothers this year. The men from the English Congregation had a blast two years ago and we didn’t even have an official speaker but this time we had the privilege of having Pastor Mike leading us in the Word of God.
In Matthew 5:16 (King James Version), it says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” As such, we are blessed to be a blessing to others so that our experience doesn’t remain within ourselves but that God ultimately gets the glory for what He does in our midst.
The most unique part of this year’s Men’s Retreat was that it was an all congregational gathering with Cantonese, English, Mandarin and even our brothers from New Vine Community Church. Even though I know most of the attendees and see and greet them each Sunday, it is out of the ordinary and certainly a real blessing to be able to worship, to learn, to pray, to play and to hang out together.
There were many golden nuggets of wisdom and truth that Pastor Mike shared with us. In fact, he even left us an entire set of notes to share online with everyone in the church.
The first nugget that spoke to me was to always remember that just like the source of energy for an electric vehicle is the main battery, the condition of our heart and spiritual well being is our life battery. To get our life battery recharged before it becomes completely drained, we need to spend quiet times with God and be in prayer to get our life battery recharged. The busyness and endless tasks in our life drains us internally and we need to be reconnected and recharged by the Holy Spirit regularly before we get our battery completely drained.
Secondly, even though God provides for our every need, we often do not actively look for and work for His provision in the right places but only look in places where “we think it should be.” God provides for the sparrows in the air and wild flowers in the fields but the little bird still has to come down to the ground and look down and peck at the worms in order to receive its blessings from God. Likewise, when we ask and pray, we need to be “looking and pecking for the worms.”
Lastly, we need to tend to the garden that has been assigned to us individually. God assigns each of us an area of ministry or responsibility…it is our duty to diligently work on the assignment(s) that God has given us. We can’t simply do the “same old, same old” but continue to work on the gardens whether that is improving our way of leading or teaching or increasing our repertoire of worship or doing new things to engage those who have yet to know Christ.
So in summary, I encourage you, church, whether you attended this retreat or not, when you see each other, rather than greeting each other with “How’s the Family?”, “How’s work?”, or “How’s school?”…ask:
1. “How’s your battery level?”
2. “Are you finding and pecking at your worms?”
3. “How’s your garden coming along?”