I thank God for the opportunity to have lunch in various coffeeshops in Singapore. Not only did the Lord fill my stomach but I have also learnt much from some conversations which were made within earshot. They gave me much to ponder. Today, we shall learn from three conversations made over the meal tables. Two conversations present negative examples which we should not follow and one involves a model which we can emulate.

Conversation 1: On Financial Debt
An elderly man was commenting to a younger man, “It appears that there are many millionaires in Singapore.” The younger man replied, “Yes, there are many millionaires, and many millionaires who are millions in debt!”

There are those who claim that debt is good so long as it is serviceable or managed smartly. It is a common conception that a good debt is one that exceeds the debt and its repayments. Thus, it is a frequent practice to take on debt for investments to maximise potential returns.

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Prov. 22:7) Power is always in the hand of the creditor. The debtor is a slave to the lender. Is the millionaire who is millions in debt really rich?

Anyone taking any personal debt should think carefully before proceeding. Is it necessary? Life’s situations may at times necessitate the taking on of loans but it is foolishness to take on loans to fund our luxuries.

Our trust should not be in the riches of this world. Money can sprout wings and fly! “ Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (Prov. 23:5) He that trust in riches will be pierced with many sorrows (1 Tim. 6:10). On the other hand, “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” (Prov. 10:22)

Conversation 2: On Situation Ethics
A young man shared to his friends, “I have two friends who are not married. The man owns a 4-room flat while his girlfriend owns a three-room flat. The lady rents out this flat and lives with the boyfriend. This helps much in generating income.”

This conversation reflects the pragmatism of society – the end justifies the means. There is scant consideration of morality. All methods can be used to benefit oneself so long as there is no breaking of the laws of society.

In this example, there is little regard of sexual purity. Marriage is regarded as an inconvenience rather than a divine institution. The couple would be permitted only to have one public residence should they be married. So why get married when one can enjoy each other’s company and have a more affordable way to get riches? Thus, there is a gaming of the system with little consideration of the spirit of the laws.

A Christian must never engage in such situational ethics. The world may regard cohabitation as acceptable. However, the Bible is clear that such conduct is a transgression of the seventh commandment. The bed is only undefiled in marriage and the Lord will judge all whoremongers and adulterers (Heb. 13:4). What may appear legal in the eyes of the world may be wickedness in the eyes of God. A Christian must always walk in truth. If we love God, we must obey His commandments and walk in His ways (Jn. 14:15).

Conversation 3: Godly Contentment
A young girl was informed that her favourite dish was not available at the store that day. She sobbed bitterly. Her mother talked to her gently, “We cannot have our way all the time. God knows the best for us. You must learn to accept this. I know you are sad. I will support and pray for you but you must learn to accept.” After some time, the girl calmed down and mother and child had a hearty meal.

The above conversation warmed my heart greatly. In a world where parents are taught to let children make their own choices and pursue their heart all the way, such teaching that godly contentment is great gain (1 Tim. 6:6) is becoming exceedingly rare. Even Christian parents fall to such folly due to a lack of discernment, resulting in a generation that is unthankful for God’s provision. “I will not be content till I get what I want. Not God’s will but mine!”

On the other hand, the above conversation is also a great example of what it means to train a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6). The Scriptures teach that when the child is old, he will not depart from the good way. Thus, we have the example of Timothy who grew to be a man of God due to the godly influence and scriptural teaching of his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois (2 Tim. 1:5).

We thank God for all parents in our midst who are devoted in bringing up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. May the conversation above be of great encouragement to you. Yours is a high calling and your labour for the Lord will not be in vain. “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.” (Ps. 128:1-3)