One morning in 1999, I felt the Lord ask me this question: “What have you laid up in heaven?”
Without any hesitation, I found myself confidently answering, “I am very active in the church, Lord. I serve in the worship team. I’m in church by 6:30am most Sundays. I also attend cell group and am involved when called upon to contribute in various aspects…” And I rattled on and on with the ‘this’ and ‘that’ of what I had done or was doing then.
Silence. Then the Lord asked again: “That’s nice. So what have you laid up in heaven?”
I was quite taken aback by Him asking the same question a second time. And so, I thought harder and said, “Oh yes, I forgot. I wrote and produced an entire musical for the church last year. For at least six months, I was in church three or four times a week, each time for at least four hours, overseeing and directing rehearsals. The musical presentation was very well received and it played to full houses on both nights!”
Silence. And then once more the Lord asked: “What have you laid up in heaven?”
Honestly, I thought I had answered rather well. But that morning, I began to realise that it was not how much I did in church that mattered to the Lord. Whilst my credentials and contributions looked rather impressive to myself and others, for some strange reason, these didn’t seem to be the right answers to that one question the Lord kept asking. All along, I had been taught that it is good to serve in church and to give back your talents to the Lord. Not that these are necessarily bad or wrong, but why was the Lord not ‘satisfied’ with my answers? It was a question I thought I had answers to but apparently didn’t.
And so, I asked in return, “So Lord, how can I lay up treasures in heaven?”
That little ‘revelation’ back in 1999 started my search for the ‘right’ answer. It pushed me to seek the Lord rather fervently, desiring only to be engaged in what mattered to my Master. With my ears inclined to Him, I heard the call to full-time ministry one year later, on 8 July 2000. Today, 15 years later, on 8 July 2015, with more experience and exposure, my understanding has been fine-tuned even more.
Those who have been journeying with me would know that my present focus is that of Archippus Awakening, dedicated to the awakening of saints that these may know and fulfil their God-given kingdom assignments. Although the Lord used Colossians 4:17 to define this ministry, on reflection, I see this as an extension of my search for the ‘right’ answer which started way back in 1999. To be sure, being involved in church is indeed commendable. However, we must be careful to discern if it is merely Christian activity we are busy with, mistaking it for doing God’s will. That said, it is indeed a very fine line between Christian activity and kingdom assignment.
Back in 1999, I was not able to make the distinction. Had the Lord not provoked me that morning, I would have gone on ‘doing’ church and feeling really good about it, “veneered over with Christian sentiment” (Oswald Chambers). Later, even as one in full-time ministry, I started out well but slowly became activity-oriented again without even realising it at all! This explained the unsettledness in my heart that pushed me back to the Lord for a re-alignment all over again, resulting in His instruction in October 2013 for me to leave everything behind and to start Archippus Awakening.
Today, 8 July 2015, I remember clearly the voice of Jesus who called me to follow Him. That was 15 years ago. I am reminded that I left all that I may fulfil kingdom assignments and not be caught up merely in Christian activity. That is my focus and that is where I will channel my energies towards.
Today, if the Lord would pose the question once more, “What have you laid up in heaven?”, this is how I would answer…“Only you know, Lord. Thank you for the privilege to partner You in all You are doing. Teach me to discern what is needful and important. Enable me to fulfil all that you have assigned. Amen.”