A few weeks ago, I heard one of the best messages in my life. It was given by John Snelgrove, one of the founding pastors of The Vine Church in Hong Kong. When Pastor John opened with the statement, “One of the greatest dangers today in the Kingdom of God is jealousy”, I knew it’s gonna be a great message. I am perhaps biased since this is a statement that resonates with me deeply.
He shared briefly of a recent experience he had with a local church leader throwing shades to another church by saying, “Yeah, their church is growing, but _____________…”
“Get off your ‘buts’!” said Pastor John.
That’s right. I have heard too many “but __(insert complaints/ mockery/ distrust/ resentment______…” as well in my life. Lord have mercy, I am sure I have done the same. As someone who likes to follow ministry leaders on social media, I have also been shocked by the lack of grace many times. Where is the fruit of speaking well of one another? “Honour one another”: is this not what the Lord has taught us?
Drawing from Matthew 20 and Phillip Yancey’s well-known book What’s So Amazing About Grace, John left me with two incredible lessons: 1) When we are jealous about others, we are actually jealous about God’s generosity; 2) Listen to this when you are young: don’t get caught up in the world’s ranking. The way the world ranks men is not how God’s Kingdom works.
After the message, some new comers wanted to receive the Lord into their lives. What followed was a beautiful communion, in which John said, “Many church services often let the pastors, deacons, and elders take the bread and wine first, but today, we will do something different: we will serve these new ones first.” He then charged those sitting around the new believers to serve the bread and wine to these ones first. Meanwhile, he also asked the Philippino sisters, who laboured six days a week as maids, to partake of the bread and wine before the rest of us did. This kind of serving expresses the beauty of Matthew 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first last.” This kind of honouring one another is indeed the way of Christ.