Our theology must ultimately precede our methodology.
This fundamental truth pierced deeply in my heart as Karen Monroy and I went through a month-long journey with Covenant Evangelical Free Church (CEFC) in Singapore for a short-term pastoral attachment. As most of you know, the Lord has used CEFC in various ways to partner with us in moving towards being an intentionally disciple-making church (IDMC).
What I imagined as a series of tedious trainings turned out to be a much-awaited opportunity for me to recharge, be renewed, to reflect and to re-align with God’s unique curriculum for my life. Having to receive far less text messages and phone calls as compared when I was here in Manila; being given opportunities to sit in classes and to observe their programs; then, the privilege of attending their prayer gatherings and worship celebrations were pivotal moments I deemed as God’s divine appointments for me and was a subtle call to allocate more time for extended solitude and unhurried theological reflection.
As I surveyed the terrains of my life, I recognized how much I could identify with what Pastor Edmund Chan wrote in Roots & Wings. Allow me to quote his statement in full when he said, “Life in the fast lane and the unceasing demands of modern living often trap us in a whirlwind of frenzy. Our chronic busyness is symptomatic of something deeper – an overcrowded soul. In this noisy workshop, the voice of God is often drowned out. And the bitter irony of it all is that we can be busy with God’s work and miss God out altogether! It is tragic to be caught in the thick of thin things!”
In being so busy with Kingdom work, we subtly highlight more on the “what to do” and the “how to do”, rather than focusing our energies in knowing the One whom we ought to serve – God! In this performance trap, we easily fail in understanding the logical reality that there truly is no kingdom without a King! We need to go back to simply gazing upon the beauty of our King, to seek Him with all our heart, and to know Him ever so intimately.
Therefore, we must come to grasp and constantly re-learn this fundamental truth: our theology must precede our methodology. While both are of immense weight in the economy of God, we must never confuse what ought to be prioritized. We need to learn to be meaningfully busy with what matters most. Like the Apostle Paul, he counted everything as loss in view of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus our Lord! (cf. Philippians 3:8a)
I came home from Singapore with a good number of notes and some add-ons in my personal library. Yet what I took home and have treasured the most in this brief journey are not just the materials that were gained. Instead, my heart is full because of the indelible life lessons that God has deposited firmly in my heart through His Word, through my quiet reflections, through mentoring moments, and through journeying with kindred-spirit friends at CEFC who affirm me without fail that when we take care of the depth of our lives, God will surely take care of the breadth of our work and ministry!