Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2010

My Calling To Serve A Gracious And Compassionate Saviour

Written by Donald dela Cruz Sunday, 17 January 2010

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Donald dela Cruz's testimony of his calling to the ministry



Bro Donald has just
joined the Master of
Divinity Course in FEBC.

I came to Singapore on August 30, 2004 and, like most Filipinos working overseas, I was focused on the goal of earning and saving much so that I can provide a comfortable life for me and my family. It has always been my dream to retire early and enjoy the fruits of my labour – to buy a vast tract of land and view its boundaries on horseback and see many of God’s creation living in it. To me, the best thing in life was to have my own farm, growing fruit-bearing trees and rearing domestic animals, especially horses. So I laboured day by day with this objective in mind. I was a new believer back then, having received the Lord only a month earlier on the 18th of July 2004.

I attended my first worship service in Gethsemane BPC on October 10, 2004 at the old level 5 venue of the SingPost Centre. Pastor Koshy was preaching from the Scriptures about Abraham’s life. It was on that part when Abraham had just arrived in the Promised Land from the land of Ur. It was a land that was supposed to be flowing with milk and honey. Yet famine struck and this caused Abraham and his family to flee to Egypt. Until now, I still cannot forget the contents of that message. It keeps on flashing back in my mind like a sweet memory and I cannot help but stand in awe. I began to feel a deep hunger for the Word of God but I had no idea that the Lord was already preparing me for the full-time ministry.

It was in the month of February 2008 when the Lord impressed upon my heart a very heavy burden for the gospel. At that time, I was back in the Philippines to settle some personal matters and at the same time to visit the church that Sis Emma (wife of Bro Randy Laurencio) was attending. Sis Emma was a new believer in Christ and I wanted to know if this was a good church that can nurture her in the faith. When we arrived at the church, I asked some brethren there about their pastor and I was told that they do not have a resident pastor. A pastor from another church only visits them once a month and the preaching of the Word is left to the care of deacons.

We then sat at the back and observed how the whole service was to be conducted. Nearby where we sat, a group of deacons were having a hurried meeting just a few minutes before the service started. I happen to overhear their conversation that for some reason, the deacon assigned to preach that day could not make it. Nevertheless, the service started and the preaching of the Word was about to commence. To my surprise, they just pointed to one particular deacon and commanded him to go up to the pulpit and preach. The said deacon looked stunned and indeed not knowing what to do since he was not prepared for such a task.

My heart sank but was gripped with compassion towards those hungry souls there waiting to be fed. How can church leaders like these be so rash and indifferent in handling the affairs of the church? Are they not aware of how precious these souls are in the eyes of God? The Lord then led me to recall Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” On the day when Christ will judge the living and the dead, preachers must also give account of what they have done to feed the flock of Christ. How can these preachers then face their Saviour if they were not faithful to the charge that Christ gave to them?

I took a jeepney on my way home from church that day and I didn’t even realize that tears of sorrow were rolling down my cheeks. I empathized with the believers who were waiting for spiritual nourishment but there was only dearth. The Lord has declared in Hosea 4:6 that “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”. May God’s people suffer only because of their wilful rebellion and not because they have not been warned of impending peril for their sins. Oh, how my country desperately needs the gospel!

I felt nary a shame crying with so many people around me at that time. How can I not weep like the prophet Jeremiah who wept for the sins of his people? Or like Daniel who even fainted after seeing in a vision the sufferings and destruction of his people? Can I not lament at the imminent destruction of my country because of rampant idolatry? My people has no knowledge at all about the living and true God. It was on this day, the 10th of February 2008, that the Lord called me to feed His sheep. I was convinced without any doubt that the Lord was calling me into the ministry, yet I tried to delude myself to think that it was really only a dream.

I tried to run away from my calling but just the same, it kept ringing over and over again in my ears. Aside from my work, I had been engaged in a very lucrative business on the side. So I bargained with the Lord, “Once I have enough savings, then I will go full-time!” Rebuke came in one of the FEBC night class lectures on the necessity of God’s servants to rely upon Him for all his needs, for He has promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” I ignored this admonition and continued to work and save up. But how much of enough is really enough? As the days went by swift and fast, so was my heart drifting away from my calling. Indeed, you cannot serve both God and mammon. The Lord finally dealt with me.

On the 12th of May 2008, the business that I so cherished suddenly collapsed. In a matter of three days, all my efforts and labours for two years was reduced to rubble. I found myself powerless to stop the downfall of this business. At that moment, I knelt and cried before the Lord in surrender to Him and made a vow to serve Him without delay as soon as I recover and fulfil all my remaining commitments.

God is really good and faithful. From then onwards, I have never lost my focus on His calling for me and I have always looked forward to that appointed day that I can finally serve Him full-time in the ministry. I will love Him and His people not because of health
and wealth, but simply because He died for me and saved me from all my sins. This reason alone is good enough for me to wholeheartedly serve Christ, my gracious and compassionate Saviour.

Unto Him be all glory!