Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Day I Felt Liberated

Half a year ago I heard of a story from my friend which was both very impressive and inspiring. She only had two months to go before finishing her study in the UK. Retrospectively what I did during my last two months in the UK was travelling. I went to Spain in June for 10 days, and then my family came and joined me for my graduation and subsequently my graduation trip in Switzerland and Scotland spanning for the next 12 days. Not her.

I met this girl briefly during one of the church meetings I went to randomly in Bristol some time in mid-April following Pastor Dave and Kat, few weeks before the start of my final year exam. But she has been such a great encouragement and inspiration ever since. She was a psychology student, so fortunately for her, her exams were well-spread over the whole academic year, unlike the majority of university students' exams stack right at the end of the academic year. So what's so special about her?

Despite preparing for upcoming papers, she continued to lead not one, but three Bible studies and a prayer walk per week, as if three Bible studies were not busy enough for her. She dedicated two third of her awake time in a day (10 hours) to do God's work. Though she claimed that it was not her own initiative but her friends' to have the prayer walk every week, she decided to join her friend and give her best. She felt she hadn't done her best for God throughout the past three years in the UK, so she decided to bless people around her to the fullest in these last two months. 

I was inspired! While I was studying hard preparing for my upcoming final exams, I felt the nudge from God I can still do something although my time in the UK was running out. The word "Give" came into my heart. I could't understand much at that time. What more should I give? Have I not given enough tithe and offering on Sunday? Have I not committed enough time and efforts into church building activities, twice or thrice a week? Have I not given enough attention to people around me? I asked God. I was confused. 

As I was strolling towards the nearest Sainsbury's to my house at Liverpool Road near Angel Tube Station, something struck me hard! There was this one homeless guy who sat there at the side of the road asking people for spare change. It was at night. People just walked past him, rushing to do some last minute shopping or simply rushing back home to rest. Nobody cared about him. He reminded me of my friend who had been doing prayer walk for weeks, praying and caring for the homeless people in Bristol City. 

As I continued to walk past the homeless guy and proceeded to Sainsbury's to buy groceries, I heard a voice inside me saying: "This is it. This is what I meant by giving." Huh? There was nothing that I could give him! Except... my money. As I thought deeper, I realised I had not been dealing well with money. To one extent, it had become my master because I cared so much about money and put God at the rear seat. There was a period earlier this year when money almost consumed me, eating me alive. Give. 

After I finished buying groceries, I was walking back to my house. Before I walked past the homeless guy for the second time, I was telling myself... This is It! And he appeared from afar. I walked towards the homeless guy. Without him asking me for some spare change, I handed over £1 to him and said "God bless you". He gave me the most thankful look and a sincere smile. £1 is nothing to many of us, but to him the homeless guy, it is something. I have made his day. It may seem small and insignificant, but something within me has changed forever. 

I felt liberated. 

We are so used to getting things from others that we forget to give. I forgot to give. But as soon as I decided to give my first £1 to others, it marked my first step. This simple act of giving gave me freedom. Freedom from being enslaved by money, the power to be the master of money instead. My friend gave up her precious time and efforts to the homeless people and friends around her, purely out of obedience. From obedience comes freedom and joy.

I'm glad I obeyed the voice inside my head.

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