January 16/17, 2021

From the Pasto’s Desk – Pastor Francis Chan

Does it ever occur to you that you don’t deserve anything you happen to own? And that you don’t actually own anything that you deem to be yours?

I have taken road tests for driving license in Hong Kong and in Vancouver. On the day I took my road test in Hong Kong, my driving instructor gave me a final rehearsal. I saw a car flashing distress lights stopped in front of me. After a minute or so, I turned on my right signal and I passed that car. When the rehearsal was over, my instructor told me that I had failed because I had failed to ask for his instructions before I drove pass that distressed car. In less than an hour, I took and passed my road test. The distressed car was simply not there when I was on that road the second time. The distressed car could have appeared in my rehearsal, and it could have appeared in my road text. Everything is providential. All is grace!

On November 17 last year, I took my road test in Vancouver. It was my third attempt in 6 months. Everything went smoothly and about 30 minutes later, the examiner asked me to return to the test centre. When I tried to park my car at the test centre, I discovered that there was only very limited space to maneuver because there was a big garbage box to the left of my intended parking spot and there was a car parked to its right. Anyhow, I tried my best and parked my car. When I turned off the engine, I was eagerly expecting good news from the examiner. To my surprise, he said I had failed because one wheel was on the line of the parking spot, and he also said that I had failed to shoulder check when I drove into the test centre. I was disheartened and I could almost cry. Feeling desperate, I asked the examiner if he could pass me, nevertheless. In response, he asked me why he should do so. I told him that it was already my third attempt. After a short silence, he said, “OK, I’ll pass you, but you must remember to do shoulder checks!” That day, the examiner had mercy on me; more accurately, God had mercy on me. I got the message loud and clear: it was God’s grace that I got my license, just like my first time in Hong Kong.

Driving is both a pleasure and a necessity to me. The driving license that I own now, which allows me to drive, has been graciously given to me by God. If the Lord pleases that I should live a long and healthy life, I would probably be driving until my last moment on earth. Still, my license and my driving will come to an end eventually.

Apart from our salvation in Christ, we don’t actually own anything. Everything that we have ever owned and everything that we have ever cherished doing will cease to exist one day. They were first given to us by the grace of God but still, they will not survive into eternity. God doesn’t owe us anything. He did not have to create us; He did not have to sustain us; He did not have to save us when we sinned and were doomed; and indeed, He did not have to give us any goodies of life at all. Yet because of his profound love for us, he has chosen to save us, even at a price that costed him dearly and hurt him deeply. His only begotten Son Jesus Christ came to our world – the Word became flesh – to experience the life of a mortal, to experience the pain and sufferings of our body and soul, and eventually, to be hung on a cursed cross, in order to pay the price of sin in our place and stead. The voluntary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ satisfied God’s justice and fulfilled God’s mercy. Just as the Scripture says: He loves me and gives himself up for me!

I’d therefore ask you to pray with me, that by God’s grace, we will walk with Him every day with contentment, joy, and a thanksgiving heart, because all is grace!