Journal Review: MSI Bulletin, Summer, 2010.
MSI (formerly called Medical Services International) was founded by the late Dr. James H. Taylor, III, after he had served for many years as a missionary in Taiwan, where he founded and led China Evangelical Seminary, and then in Singapore, where he served as General Director of OMF International.
In this issue, MSI writers look at “The most excellent way” of doing professional – we could say, any – service among the Chinese:
MSI President Matthew Koh leads off with “Professional Service Focus – The Most Excellent Way”. He begins with “Doing our best”: “The vital principle of spiritual life is to live as a true person. Spend our gift and wield our skills for His eyes.”
Practicing Our Ideals: “For us, the ideal is more than God talk. Our faith leads us to engage life, to act, to do… If we would be true Christians, we will not only think about things that are true, noble, and admirable; but perform deeds of excellence (Philippians 4:8-9).”
But deeds of excellence must come from a heart of love to have any lasting worth. “When our professional excellence becomes an end in itself, we become self-centered, consumed by our own professional capacity and performance, and we will always be dissatisfied.”
Lim Cheng Geok writes about “Living well”: “With the benefit of a sound education and opportunities for good work experience, doing things well is relatively straightforward. But living well doesn’t come so easily. At least not the kind of living the Lord desires of me.” We are all too prone to believe the words of admiration that people heap upon us and to descend into self-delusion.“ “I’ve come to depend on Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest as a constant spiritual encouragement and goal providing insight into God’s word and challenging me about what’s real and excellent in God’s sight.”
Some of Chambers’ sharp statements follow:
“Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on him. A great many Christian workers worship their work. The one concern of a worker should be concentration on God.” (April 23)
“Never court anything other than the approval of God… Jesus told his disciples not to rejoice in successful service (Luke 10:20), and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice.” (April 24)
“If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would do nothing forever and ever…The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not.” (April 25)
Almost ten years ago, Jim Taylor wrote an article, “From Success to Significance,” which is reprinted in this issue of the Bulletin. His words bear repeating. Addressing skilled professionals who have tasted success, he asks, “Why didn’t it [success] bring you satisfaction?... Is it not because your success lacks significance?” He then gives advice on how to move from “success to significance.”
First, professionals must “recognize that all you have is a trust from God to be used in accord with His plan for your life and for His glory.” Then “you need to know that true significance will only come as you surrender all you have and are to Christ… Are you willing to dedicate your life and profession to Christ and let Him use them for the extension of His kingdom?”
Finally, “success will be transformed into significance as you follow the example of Jesus in servanthood… Service that flows from surrender to Christ brings significance.”
Apt reminders, indeed, for all who aspire to real and lasting “success”!
There is more in this issue of the MSI Bulletin, which I always find helpful. Write to MSI/USA at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to their web site, www.msips.org, for more information about this really fine organization.
G. Wright Doyle