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A Relentless Pursuit

Mr. Ho Zhi Wei

24 December 2019

With less than nine days to 2020, many of us might be reflecting on what we have made of 2019. Whether marked by accomplishment or disappointment, the extent to which we are seen to have progressed in our lives is likely foremost on our minds. This is not surprising, considering how our lives in Singapore are marked by ceaseless competition.


In spite of (or perhaps, because of) growing concerns over social inequality, we persist in our striving to stand apart from our peers. This extends from our studies and careers—Singapore’s students and workers are reported to experience high levels of anxiety—to our view of what success might look like in the church and the family. We do not have to look far to consider what unchecked social comparison might look like; our use of social media readily serves as a mirror. Rather than “half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition” as characterised by C.S. Lewis in his 1942 sermon ‘The Weight of Glory’, the relentless nature of our pursuits suggests anything but.


However, if Lewis was correct about our natures, that we are “far too easily pleased” as “an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea,” we cannot begin to fathom what the pursuit of true satisfaction might entail, particularly in the face of a perfect God.


Not only would a simple reordering of our lives be inadequate, it is bound to fail. The reformer Martin Luther was practically driven insane in his pursuit of a sinless life. However, Christmas gives us reason to rejoice: our ultimate satisfaction is found not in our striving, but through God who has striven for us and shown “his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).


Indeed, as Lewis observed, “to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son - it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain.”


Reflection: Knowing that our sinful eyes are “never satisfied with riches” (Ecclesiastes 4:8), can we find rest from our relentless pursuits to rejoice and satisfy in Christ and his completed work of grace?


Mr. Ho Zhi Wei