Category: <span>牧師的話</span>

《從大齌節期反思!Reflection in Lent》

因為我餓了,你們給我吃。 ~馬太福音 25:35

耶穌也是會餓的!

耶穌在曠野禁食,四十天的得勝後,其實他餓了,當像我們一樣地餓了,身體、心理、靈性上都達到了臨界點,必須重新補足才能活下去。不知道是餓的發昏產生幻影,還是真的有一個看的見的形體出現在耶穌的面前並且和他對話,不只是對話,問的問題都是人的生命過程中的大挑戰,他不只是神子,也是人子,有神的眼界與能力,也有人的脾氣與軟弱。

對於這樣一個特別的彌賽亞,若不花點心思還真的無法了解耶穌,我們怎麼知道耶穌在想什麼?是人的思考還是神的眼界?我們怎麼知道耶穌要我們做什麼?是基於神的權柄還是面對人的軟弱?一個朝夕相處的枕邊人我們都會抱怨說「你不講我怎麼會知道了?」何況耶穌常常講了一些我們聽不懂的話。這就更難明白這個是神、是人的耶穌,現在是講神話還是講人話了。這也就是為什麼耶穌的教導常常是用比喻的原因了。

然而除了用講的以外,其實耶穌最常使用的方式是「你看我怎麼做,你學著做」,耶穌沒有要我們成為一個理學家、辯論家,耶穌想要我們成為實踐家,凡是要成為耶穌的信徒的,重點不是你能講什麼,而是你願意做什麼,這個差別讓保羅從滿腹經綸的法利賽人,變成信仰的實踐家,不只是用講的,更是身體力行,親力為之。也讓耶穌的門徒們,不論何種出身,就是跟著老師的樣式「照著做」就對了。耶穌憐憫人,你就憐憫人;耶穌醫治人,就用他給的權柄醫治人;耶穌給人吃飽,你就讓飢渴的人得飽足;我們常常禱告說:「願你的國降臨,在地上如同在天上」那就學習如耶穌一樣背起自己的十字架跟從耶穌。

我們需要做的不是求賞賜,也不是求福氣,我們真正需要做的是「上帝啊!你給了我耶穌這一個好榜樣,那我需要做的到底是什麼?」這個需要做的不會是我們喜歡的,也不是我們熟悉的,我們所需要做的事是我們不喜歡的,是害怕的,甚至曾經是我們心中一個放不下的,因為是十字架,是從受苦中得著榮耀,是從悔改付出代價後重新成為耶穌的跟隨者而不是一個粉絲。

三月份進入大齌期時,該是我們與耶穌一同在曠野禁食的時候了,如果我們想要承受上帝國,就需要問自己說「耶穌在那裡?耶穌餓的時候我們是否有給耶穌吃?我們是否背起了自己的十字架來跟從耶穌?」不是當一個道德理論家,而是當一個信仰實踐家!


For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. ~Matthew 25:35

Jesus can be hungry, too.

Jesus fasted in the wilderness. After forty days of victory, he was hungry. When Jesus was hungry like us and reached the critical point physically, mentally and spiritually, he had to deal with this feeling of hunger to survive. We don’t know whether it’s hunger or dizziness that produced an illusion or if there is a visible figure in front of Jesus that talked with him. It was not just a dialogue but questions that are significant challenges in the process of human life. He is not only the son of God but also human. He has God’s vision and power but the temper and weakness of man.

We don’t fully understand Jesus without spending some thoughts and efforts for the Messiah. How do we know what Jesus was thinking? Was it human thoughts or divine vision? Is it based on the power of God or in the face of human weakness? We might complain to our partner, who we spend day and night with, “how can I know if you didn’t tell me?” Besides, Jesus often said something we couldn’t understand, which makes it even more challenging to know whether this Jesus, who is God and man, is now speaking in words of God or man. That is why Jesus taught so often in parables.

However, in addition to his words, the way Jesus taught most often was, “You see how I do it, and you learn to do it.” Jesus didn’t want us to be philosophers or debaters but practitioners. To become a follower of Jesus, it doesn’t matter what you can talk about, but what you are willing to do. This difference made Paul a Pharisee full of knowledge to a practitioner of faith, who does not just talk, but do and get their hands dirty. Jesus’ disciples followed the teacher’s pattern and “did it.” Regardless of their origins or families. Jesus has mercy, so you have mercy; Jesus heals, and He heals with authority, He gives; Jesus feeds, and you feed the hungry; we always pray, “Thy kingdom come, on earth as in heaven.” Let’s learn to take up your cross and follow Jesus just as he did.

What we need to do is not to ask for rewards or good luck. We need to ask God what we need to do now that He has given us an excellent example of Jesus. It may not be something we like or familiar with, but something we don’t like or are afraid of, or even something we couldn’t let go of because it is a cross, a glory from suffering. We are followers of Jesus after repentance and paying the price, not His fans.

When we enter the Great Lent in March, it is time for us to starve in the wilderness with Jesus. If we want to inherit the kingdom of God, we need to ask ourselves, “Where is Jesus? Did we feed Jesus when Jesus was hungry? Have we taken up our cross and followed Jesus?” Not as a moral theorist but as a practitioner of faith.

2月2022:《以一而多、共生共榮!Unity in Diversity and Prosperity》

佳恩教會是一間很特別的教會、上帝預備恩典多、語言文化差異多、同心敬拜創意多與團契聚會變化多。而在年齡分佈上從滿月的小貝比到八、九十歲的資深少年郎,從各路人馬、大江南北都有。在教會的使用參與者中,不管是土生土長的加拿大人,中國、台灣、越南、印尼的新移民,甚至是非洲南蘇丹人、東南亞的菲律賓人一直到中東的約旦、黎巴嫩難民,你都可以在這裡看到,雖然分屬不同教會、也有不同的背景,但大家一同在一間禮拜堂中,用我們對上帝的虔誠敬拜著。

儘管大家彼此不同、差異甚大,但我們知道,今天會在這裡聚集是因著同一個信仰、同一個上帝、分享同一個靈,這使我們在這個奇異恩典中凝聚著、成長著,我們是Amazing Grace United,我們是Amazing Grace Mission。許多不同的人在這一個信仰團體中學習著、成長著、被建立著,更被賜福著。

過去的一年,我們在疫情之下不但沒有失去信仰的熱情,反而有更大的成長,讚美團的發展使得我們的敬拜更豐富也得著更多的同工,我們在疫情有限的連結中成為無限的供應,在網路發達的今天,教會網站的推展、影音媒體的播放,網路社群的連結,讓我們的教會生活更多元而不再只有侷限於來教會;而創意的事工發展,使我們有Podcast的網路廣播事工,這使我們更有機會把觸角深入在每人每天的生活中。

今年,我們要做的事工不僅是在網路上,我們要把重點放在松年活動事工上,不只考慮年長者的靈性需要、設計年長者需要的生活關懷與疫情下的安全社交活動,也體貼身體上的軟弱,計劃設置交通車以方便長者參與更多的信仰禮拜活動與生活交誼活動,我們要重新聚集每一個願意來到上帝祭壇前的人,都能照心所願地前來。

然而我們還是有許多的欠缺需要你的參與和幫補,在去年佳恩財務組同工所編列的財務報表是-11268.28,而最後達成是-6524.08,這數字代表的是在教會事工推展下,我們會有赤字,但是事工達成後,赤字減少了;我們不只是服事更多,我們也奉獻更多,然而我們為了還不足的部分,願上帝藉由您的手來供應教會事工上的需要,如同瑪拉基書3:10『萬軍之耶和華說:「你們要將當納的十分之一全然送入倉庫,使我家有糧,以此試試我是否為你們敞開天上的窗戶,傾福與你們,甚至無處可容。』」,這不只是命令,也是應許,應許使上帝家有糧的人,上帝要大大賜福與你,到你領受不完,使你領受到的是「上尖下流,連搖帶按」地加給你們(路6:38),這恩要超越你所需要的,你看的不再是你欠缺多少,而是看你能拿走多少?

新的一年,我們將更加豐盛,也將更加經歷神的恩典,邀請你一同來參與,在主裡享受祂的有餘和榮耀。


Amazing Grace United Church is a very special church in which God has numerous blessings for. This includes multi-lingual communities, multi-cultural differences, multi-innovative and creative groups as well as multi-interchangeable fellowship group gatherings. In terms of age distribution, we have people from all ages, this includes month old baby to young seniors in their 80s and 90s. Amongst the participants in the church, whether they are native Canadians, new immigrants from China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, even South Sudanese in Africa, Filipinos in Southeast Asia, Jordan and Lebanese refugees in the Middle East, can all be seen worshiping, giving praise and devoting time to God despite the differences in cultural backgrounds, denominations and experiences.

Although we are all different and are very different from each other, we know that we are gathered here today because of the same faith, the same God, and the same sharing of the holy spirit to grow and unite with each other as our church is called Amazing Grace United or Amazing Grace Mission. Lots of different people are learning, growing and building this united faith community together and in making a difference together.

In the past year, we have not lost our enthusiasm for faith under the pandemic, but have grown even more. The development of the praise group has enriched our worship and gained more members. Although the pandemic has limited our physical connections, we have instead brought on unlimited giving’s and worships. With today’s internet technology, our church has pushed for modernization efforts that includes church website development, social media interaction and online group gatherings. This allows the church to be connected in more diverse and various ways without the need to be limited to only attending worship inside the church sanctuary hall. Furthermore, our innovative virtual faith ministry development has enabled us to create a podcast that touches many people’s everyday life and allows the church to have that opportunity to touch many people’s hearts.

This year, our focus will not only be online services and worship, but instead have a more emphasis on creating a seniors relationship building program. Not only do we have to consider the spiritual needs of the elderly, but we must focus on the needs of life and social care / activities. This includes creating an elderly commute/ transportation method that is safe for the seniors to travel and attend social activities under the pandemic. We must regroup & reconnect and provide the utilities / tools for anyone that is eager to express their desires to come and worship God.

However, we still have lots of work that need your participation and help. Last year, the financial statement budget was estimated to be -$11,268.28, however, the actual amount that we achieved was -$9,675.20. This number reflects the accomplishments that the church has done under our work and services. Although we are in a deficit, we have not only finished our services and achieved our goals, we have also decreased our deficit. Not only are we serving more, we are also growing more, donating more and accomplishing more. For the part that we are still lacking, we pray that God will provide, lead and guide us for the needs of the church, just as in Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

This is not just a command, but a promise, a promise that those who provide for God’s house, God will greatly bless you, in more than you can imagine. This blessing is what Luke 6:38 says, ” Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38). This grace must exceed what you need and require, no longer will you see how much you lack, but rather how much you can take away!

This new year will be even more amazing, and we will experience God’s grace even more. We invite you to join us and enjoy God’s surplus and glory in the Lord.

1月2022:《明⽩上帝的旨意、做個智慧⼈! Understand God’s Will and Be Wise》

你們要謹慎⾏事,不要像愚昧⼈,當像智慧⼈。要愛惜光陰,因為現今的世代邪惡。不要作糊塗⼈,要明⽩主的旨意如何! ~以弗所書5:15~17

以弗所書是保羅寫給在以弗所的眾教會的勵勉書信,保羅期待上帝的⼦⺠在⽣活中能走在上帝的⼤計劃裡,這計劃就是能『照著上帝所安排的,在時機成熟時,使天上、地上、⼀切所有的,都在基督裡合⼀』。這也是每⼀個基督徒在世上⽣活所要努⼒的⽅向和成就,⽽合⼀,是因為基督的愛,也靠著基督的愛。我們每⼀個⼈都不同,有相似也有差異,要能合⼀不是因為臭氣相投,⽽是因著在主裡合⼀。這也是佳恩教會⽬前的寫照,也在2021年中表露無疑,因為我們合⼀不是因為相同,⽽是因為基督。

以教會⽽⾔,佳恩聯合教會的差異是相當⼤,成員年齡的差異很⼤、⽂化背景的差異很⼤,語⾔的差異很⼤,對信仰禮拜的認知差異更⼤。這許許多多的差異加起來,似乎很難找到⼀個共通交集的地⽅,惟⼀有的,就只有「基督的愛」了。因為我們是⼀群差異很⼤,卻在差異中願意委⾝、彼此接納來跟隨基督的,且願意讓基督的愛來改變我們,好讓我們能彼此接納。就好像教會中的長輩⼀直在不斷地提醒,『要看上帝⽽不是看⼈』,『惟有專注看耶穌,才能讓我們能⼀同走下去』。因為這個世界是分裂的,魔⿁不要我們在主裡合⼀,好把我們各個擊破,但神的美意是善的,要讓我們在這破碎的世代能扺擋惡者的攻擊,依然能站立的住。

對於在溫哥華的我們,2021年是⼀個非常挑戰的⼀年,除了世界性疫情影響⽽封城,改變了許多原有的⽣活習慣之外,暑假的攝⽒50度的⾼溫也破了記錄,⽽森林⼤火造成的空氣、道路封閉的影響也是空前絕後。⽽11⽉份的BC省⼤洪⽔⼜再⼀次造成了交通、經濟和⼈⺠⽣計的損失,所有對外道路包括鐵路和油管都中斷了,讓溫哥華成了⼀座對外斷連的「孤島」。再接下來,12⽉份的⼤雪和低溫也破了記錄,讓氣候適合宜居、原本的避寒勝地再⼀次跌落神壇。如果再加上物價⾼漲、經濟衝擊的話,2021年真的是非常剌激的⼀年。

然⽽,神卻也在這當中顯明了祂的愛,讓我們佳恩聯合教會沒有因為環境⽽落敗,反⽽因在這特別的環境中更顯得上帝恩典的寶貴。我們更加珍惜彼此,也更樂意彼此扶持。我們看到弟兄姊妹在⼈⽣病的軟弱中,彼此扶持,我們也看到在年底教會的義賣中,彼此服事。

我們都是智慧⼈,因為我們在世界與上帝中做了選擇,我們更是有福氣的⼈,因為我們選擇在「愛中合⼀」來代替「彼此競爭」,我們也明⽩上帝的旨意是好的、是善的,更在邪惡世代中,愛惜光陰、珍惜彼此的合⼀,詩篇103:5 『祂⽤美物使你所願的得以知⾜,以致你如鷹返老還童。』,願我們為過去的⽇⼦獻上感謝,更在將來的⽇⼦,求主帶領前⾏。


Ephesians is Paul’s letter of encouragement to the church of Ephesus. Paul expects God’s followers to live in His plan, “as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth,” which is what every Christian is working towards and strives to live in this world. Unity is where Jesus’ love is and is what we rely on. We are all different, and we unite not for being evil but in the body of Christ. Unity defines the Amazing Grace United Church. In 2021, it showed that we joined not because we’re all the same but because of Jesus.

The difference among members of the Amazing Grace United Church is very prominent. We vary in age, cultural background, language and perception towards worship. It isn’t easy to find a place where we meet in common with the accumulation of contrasts. But there is one, and it is Jesus’ love. Despite the significant distinctions, we’re willing to commit and accept each other to follow Christ, and we are eager to let the love of Christ change us for more acceptance. It’s like the senior members in the church are constantly reminding us, “It depends on God, not the people”, “Only by focusing on Jesus can we go on together”. Because this world is divided, demons try to break us apart by disunity. But we can resist the attack of the evil in this broken world and stand strong thanks to God’s kindness and goodwill.

2021 for us in Vancouver was very challenging. Besides lockdowns due to the pandemic that had changed our lives, BC had broken the record of the hottest temperature in summer, which caused wildfires and air pollution and road closure that was unprecedented. In November, the floods had crippled the traffic flow in and out of Vancouver, which severely damaged the streets and lives of the affected areas and the local and national economy, leaving Vancouver a helpless island. Visited by a rare winter storm in December, Vancouver was hit by heavy snows and a record-smashing low temperature, falling off its reputation of mild weather and the best place to live. Not to mention the price jumps and economic recession, 2021 was indeed an exciting year.

However, God also revealed His love in all those challenges. The Amazing Grace United Church did not fail due to the difficult times but thrived in the grace of God. We cherish and are more willing to support everyone. We have seen our brothers and sisters taking care of each other amid illness and weakness and helping each other out during the charity sale at the end of the year.

We are all wise, for we’ve chosen God over the world. We are also fortunate because we selected to replace “competing with one another” with “unity in love”. We understand that the will of the Lord is kindness and cherish each other’s company in unity even in the age of evil. Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:5) We are thankful for the days in the past, and in the days to come, may the Lord lead us forward.

11月2021:《永恆!Eternity!》

草必枯乾,花必淍謝,惟有我們上帝的話永遠立定! ~以賽亞書40:8

Calvin Klein 有一款經典是男女香水的代表作,1988年所發行的「Eternity 永恆」,它是當年Calvin Klein先生送給當時助理,也是第二任妻子Kelly的新婚禮物,從香水到仿十字架造型瓶身中,象微著至死不渝的愛情。這香水不但是個經典暢銷商品,也讓一個簡單清新、如同初戀時在心中的淺淺悸動,一代一代的傳講下去。「永恆」,是許多人想要追求超越一代生命的長度卻不容易尋到的目標,有人想留名,有人想留命,也有人想留功績。

一個男孩和女孩的相戀故事,可能會感動許多同樣在愛情中追尋快樂的人,用一切方法,求功、求名,求財富,想要在物質中豐富有餘,在忙與盲中為自己留下一個舒適圈,好讓自己老了以後能高枕無憂。這不只是追求一時的愛情,更是要追求一輩子的幸福,不但接受生活的考驗,也要在兩人不同觀念與習慣中不斷磨合;更重要的是這份幸福必須一起走過,一起到老,才能從一時的快樂,成就到一生的幸福,而要在這過程中,依然維持生命的熱情,這才是最不容易的事,卻也是大家都想追求的事。

我們以為,人生就是在不斷地追求「流行」的喜好,就可以不斷地維持住人的熱情,我們以為不斷地抓住美麗的瞬間,就能把我們裝飾的更美麗。不斷地追求流行,會讓我們疲憊,而美麗的瞬間,卻可能瞬間失去。年輕人喜歡追尋流行手機,在擁有過幾隻手機後,手機最終只是工具。有人喜歡追求美食,嘗盡美食之後,可能酒足飯飽、新鮮感不再,而失去興趣,甚至過頭之後,醫藥伺候。一時的快樂無法成就一生的幸福,而一生的幸福必需建立在永恆的價值上。

今天這款「Eternity 永恆」的香水依然暢銷,但Calvin Klein 和Kelly的婚姻在二十年後就走到了盡頭。人的愛情不盡都美好,也有幻滅的時刻。人的幸福,大家都想,卻不是人人可以享受得到的。你的人生追求什麼?你所依靠的夠不夠長久,地球會暖化、環境會改變,但只有神的應許永不改變。草必枯乾,花必淍謝,惟有我們上帝的話永遠立定!當我們看到美麗的景物隨著四季運轉而變化時,才了解到,只有背後的造物主在永恆中所立定的根基永不改變。人謹此一生,只有為主工作永揚溢,只有這一次的機會,失去就不再來,願我們每一個人都能尋到生命的終極價值,不只值得,更加耀眼美麗。


The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8

Eternity is a fragrance introduced in 1988 by Calvin Klein. It was inspired by a wedding gift he bought for his second wife, Kelly, his assistant at the time, as a tribute to Calvin Klein’s eternal love for his wife and family. Eternity and its cross-shaped packaging tell the story of love shared over a lifetime. This perfume is a best-selling product, and a classic symbol passed down year by year, reminding people of the fresh, innocent first love. “Eternity” is a goal that many people pursue beyond the length of life but is hard to find. Some people want to keep fame, many want to elongate a life, and others need achievements.

The love story of a boy and a girl may touch many people who seek pleasure in love, who also use all methods to seek merit, fame, and wealth. They want to be rich in material and build a comfortable zone in the busy and blind world, so they can rest relaxed when they are old. Love is not just the pursuit of temporary passion but also a lifetime of happiness. You accept life’s tests and constantly adapt to the two different minds and habits; more importantly, you must go through joy and grow old together. That’s how you turn the temporary into eternity. And in this process, it’s not easy to maintain enthusiasm, but it is what everybody wants.

We believe we can keep the passion by constantly pursuing whatever is popular. We think that seizing beautiful moments can decorate our appearance to others. However, the pursuit of fashion will eventually tire us out, and the beautiful moment may be lost in an instant. Young people want to possess the newest mobile phones. After owning a few, they realize phones are just tools. Some people like to taste delicious food. They may lose interest when they’re too full of food and wine. And if they consume too much, they might need medical care. One moment of pleasure cannot lead to a lifetime of joy, and everlasting happiness must be based on eternal values.

Today, despite the Eternity perfume being popular, Kelly and Calvin Klein’s marriage has come to an end after 20 years. Love is not always beautiful. It has its bad times too. Everyone wants happiness, but not everyone can enjoy it. What do you pursue in life? If you rely on eternity, the climate will change, and so will the environment. Only God’s promises never change. The grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. When we see the scenery changing with the seasons, we realize that only the root established by the creator in eternity shall never change. We have one life, and this is the only opportunity that we get to work for the Lord. I hope that each of us can find the ultimate value of life, not only make worth of it but make it more dazzling and beautiful.

10月2021:《尋求幸福!Seeking Happiness!》

你必將生命的道指示我,在你面前有滿足的喜樂,在你右手有永遠的福樂!~詩篇16:11

每個人在世上都在找出路,為要得著美地,尋得幸福!

孩子要找東西玩!學生要往好學校去!工作要找好老闆,藍海市場、甚至是創新好點子!尤其是在動盪、不確定的時代,找對了路,人生成功了一半,找錯了路,要付出更多的代價。社會環境的改變,使生活成了不容易的一件事,看似時代進步、經濟發達,事實上人們卻必須花更多的時間在找出路,或是讓自己的生活更美好。也許我們不承認我們需要找出路,但找到美好幸福的慾望卻從來不曾少過。

聖經中耶穌有一個大宴席的比喻,說到有人擺設了宴席要請許多賓客光臨,但是這些賓客卻都有自己的事而不克出席,有的買了地,增加了資產,有的買了牛,增加了生財工具,有的娶了老婆而春風得意,不同人卻都因為自己在人生得時得志的時刻,而不在乎上帝國的恩典,以致於主人生氣,就去請了原本不在名單上的人,連沒有資格被邀請的人都可以進來。我們一直都在用自己的方法在世界找出路,用自己的努力來達到自己人生的目的,但努力到最後卻錯過了那些原本就要給我們的福份,反而失去了更大的祝福。然而對於那些可憐的人們而言,因貧窮而摸不著幸福的人、因殘疾而沒有能力得著幸福的人,或是無法看見幸福的人身上,他們卻因神的邀請而得著了幸福。

在耶穌的比喻中,名單上的賓客是猶太人,在街上被邀請的人是外邦人。而在我們的世界中,名單上的是基督徒,而在街上被邀請的人是非基督徒。有許多在家庭中的幾代基督徒失去了立志跟隨主的初衷,而迷失在豐富的恩典之中。而有許多人為了信耶穌,而必須冒著生命危險,離開原有家人與朋友,為了信仰付上為了信仰付上許多代價。有一句台灣話說:『一代清、二代明、三代霧霧嘸明、四代你請我嘸閒。』就是在描述基督徒在豐富恩典中失去了起初的信仰。

幸福在那裡?這是我們每一個想尋找的,也許我們窮盡一生的力氣、經過許多的痛苦,一直到最後才發現,幸福原來很簡單。用單純的心來追求神的旨意,會強過心機下的自私自慾。來到神面前得著的安息,也勝過追逐金錢得著的驕傲。願我們都能在神的面前找著滿足的喜樂與永遠的福樂!


You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

Everyone is looking for a way to get to a beautiful place and find joy.

Children are to find something interesting to play with. Students are to aim for a good school. Adults want a decent job, a good boss and to come up with creative ideas or even some blue ocean strategy. In an era of turbulence and uncertainty, people are halfway to success when they’re on the right track, but they have to pay more if they choose the wrong path. Life is not easy with the changes in the social environment. It seems like our society is advancing, and the economy is developing. However, people are spending more time looking for their path or making life better. We may not admit that we need a way out, but the desire to find pleasure has never decreased.

Jesus has told the Parable of the Great Banquet, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for dinner, the host sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have bought five yokes of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ So, the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.'” We have all tried to find the way to achieve life goals with our efforts but have missed the fortunes that were meant for us and have lost the greater blessings. However, for the poor, those who can’t enjoy life due to poverty or disability received happiness from God’s invitation.

In the parable, the initially invited are the Jews, and the new guests are the Gentiles. In our world, those on the list are Christians, and those invited on the street are non-Christians. Generations of some Christian families have forgotten their original intention to follow the Lord and are lost in the abundance of grace. Many had to risk their lives, leave their family and friends, and pay a lot for their faith to believe in Jesus. There’s an old saying in Taiwanese describing the loss of the original faith in the rich grace of Christians, “First-generation is the clear-minded, second is the well-known, third is the foggy, and the fourth is the never bother.”

Where is the happiness that everyone wants to find? Maybe it takes all our strength and a lot of pain to find out that joy is simple. It’s easier to follow God’s will with a pure heart than being driven by a selfish desire. It’s better to rest in God’s blessings than chasing the pride of owning money. May we all find satisfying joy and eternal pleasure in the presence of God.