“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (ESV)
Yesterday, Judith and I celebrated our twins Jaslyn’s and Jerome’s first birthday. And just like that, one year has flown by since their birth in February 2015. And though the past 12 months have not been easy for us as first-time parents, our journey has been filled with much love, not just from our Heavenly Father, but also from you, our church. As God’s people, you have shown us much love through your speech and actions, through your prayers and help. And for that we have much to give thanks for.
Without fail, sisters such as Ruth and Jia En tirelessly offer to carry Jaslyn and Jerome around the canteen during lunch fellowship to make new friends so that we can take a break. Their help is a labour of love.
Without fail, sisters such as Karen and Maeleen faithfully enquire not only about Jaslyn’s and Jerome’s well-being, but also how we as parents have been coping; and by remembering us when they pray. Their intercession is a labour of love. And that labour of love isn’t just towards my wife or my children, because…
Without fail, brothers such as Benjamin and Shawn sacrificially spend their Saturday mornings with me ministering to the Boys in our BB 5J company, sharing the responsibility of grooming them into future leaders for our nation. Their commitment is a labour of love.
Without fail, couples such as Chris & Hsin Yuan and Kenneth & Shu Yan selflessly open up their homes so that our cell group can meet to study God’s word and have fellowship. Their hospitality is a labour of love.
Truly, there is so much love within Living Praise, and this is only possible because of Christ. In 1 Peter 1:22, we are reminded that it is Christ who enables us to have sincere love for each other and to love one another deeply from the heart.
Those examples of love I shared earlier are of course not exhaustive; for I am sure there are many more snapshots of how Living Praise has been labouring in love. I am reminded in Acts 4:32 how the Christians of the early church were one in heart and mind, how no one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, and how they shared everything they had. That kind of love was true, unconditional, unfeigned, genuine love that flowed out from living a Christ-centered and Spirit-filled life. And that is the same kind of love I hope Living Praise will continually grow to have – a love that is perfected in Christ.
And so this is my prayer for you, our church, that:
– the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
-your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight (Philippians 1:9)
May we continue to imitate Christ by loving one another, by loving our church.
Labouring in love with all of you,