The lesson we have learnt together by this juncture of the COVID-19 pandemic is that change is necessary and unavoidable for the safety and security of ourselves, of others, and of society at large. Everyone is at the frontlines of the fight against the coronavirus.
This truth applies to the SBC community as a micro-society comprising 480 students who represent a total of 27 nations.
Any member of this community who resists making changes in personal hygiene and social behaviour will jeopardize our public health and security.
Simply put, everyone is a catalyst of change, beginning in our own person, then in others, and finally in the world. In Galatians 6:1–5, the Apostle Paul exhorted the Galatian Christians to be catalysts of change in one another. On the question of how we may become a catalyst for change in belief and behaviour, we may draw three answers from his letter:
1. Live in the Spirit
Paul reminded his readers to live in the Spirit in order to assist someone caught in sin and to restore that person gently without being tempted into the path of sin themselves. Catalysts are first motivated by godly conviction before they are able to extend a helping hand to anyone in need of change. By living in the Spirit, they secure themselves with a confidence not in themselves but Christ alone.
Moreover, Paul exhorted his readers to carry their own loads. Catalysts need to examine their motivations regularly so they will not be tempted to sin and add more troubles to the community. With this in mind, SBC is committed to helping each community member bear their loads well by nurturing their spiritual lives through scriptural reading, meditation, prayer, praise, and worship individually and collectively, as well as physically and virtually.
2. Carry the Burdens of Others
Paul urged his fellow Christians to fulfil the law of Christ by carrying each other’s burdens. A catalyst knows that the predicaments caused by sin can lull community members into complacency—they become inactive or unwilling to make changes for better.
By rightly understanding the circumstances, a catalyst can give a wake-up call to the community before the fat hits the fire. They are willing to step up to do the right thing so as to correct wrongdoing and improve the situation.
SBC is blessed with a team of conscientious yet principled academic leaders who prize Christian values and character above merely the competencies of students. With fear and trembling before the holy Lord, they carry the burden of disciplining students who need to be confronted on their character and behaviour so as to be worthy of the calling they have received.
3. Facilitate Changes to Take Place
Paul encouraged his fellow Christians to “restore” the weak ones “gently” (Gal 6:1). The verb for “restore” in the original language suggests the act of mending a broken net and, further to that, equipping and coaching someone to put them in perfect condition.
The bitter truth is that people are usually unwilling to change however much we persuade, promote, push, pressure, or pull. Thus, catalysts have to be realistic and pragmatic about how they facilitate change, whether when arranging the conditions under which changes can take place, or providing incentives for people to change their minds, attitudes, and behaviours.
How does this work? Paul would say, Be gentle. A catalyst should remove the hindrances that hamper the first step of making change. SBC’s Student Council members, for instance, play a significant role by providing students with down-to-earth advice and personal assistance or example in adapting to the safety advisories from the College management.
Though the light at the end of the tunnel is not yet seen, some of our alumni, both local and abroad, have been sharing reports of their ministries in at-risk communities during this pandemic period. We are very proud of them and always find comfort in their stories. They have truly been catalysts of change!
Indeed, let’s take heed of Paul’s exhortation: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9 NIV). Are you ready to be a catalyst for change?
Please pray for and support the College to equip catalysts of change for the world.