HEARTS AFLAME: DIVINE PRESENCE AND LOVE
You Are My Friend
By RAJA THOMAS
From δούλους to φίλους
‘You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.’ – John 15:14-15
Jesus’ ultimate motivation in this context is simply φίλους (philous), the beloved friendship that He longed to have with His disciples. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’ (John 15:12) ESV. When I love my fellow mankind, the required commitment is the same as Jesus’ motive.
Foochow Methodist Church originally served the migrants (the Foochows) when it was planted in 1897 and by God’s grace the church still sticks to its original calling to reach out to the migrants. FMC started its Tamil migrant ministry 25 years ago and we now have a vibrant Tamil worship every Sunday evening, solely for our migrant friends.
One of our recent development is forging a common identity. The Tamil ministry came up with a special theme of ‘Friends of Jesus’ as its 25th anniversary theme. This common identity makes our Tamil worshippers happy and helped them to be friends with everyone. This identity has helped them to connect with people in a different way and helped them to establish a distinct identity in society as friends of Jesus.
Bishop Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah (1874-1945) known as Bishop of Dornakal was the first Indian Bishop and also the founder of the first indigenous missionary organisation in India. He made a significant statement at the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh to explain the ultimate need of Christian mission: ‘You have given your goods to feed the poor. You have given your bodies to be burned. We also ask for love. Give us FRIENDS!’
I hail from the same town as Bishop VS Azariah and personally have learned many things from his life and it has helped me to understand the real meaning of ‘Friends of Jesus’.
Jesus’ ultimate motivation fine-tuned my personal motivation to simply love my fellow mankind without any barriers and to follow in His steps. The following verses are extremely crucial and real in my life:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied… (Isaiah 53:11)
May God grant all of us the spirit of “Friends of Jesus” for the missions at our doorstep.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR :
RAJA THOMAS is the missions pastor at Foochow Methodist Church and leads the church’s migrant outreach ministry in Little India, Singapore.
SCGM 40TH ANNIVERSARY DEVOTIONAL CAMPAIGN
40 FRiends of SCGM have been invited to take part in our 40-Day Devotional Project to help raise funds for SCGM’s 40th Anniversary. Each day starting 20 November 2020 to 31 December 2020, SCGM will publish one devotion written by our 40 FRiends in our FundRaising effort and celebration of God’s goodness and provision over the last 40 years!
Through their devotional reflections, we pray that our FRiends of SCGM40 will bless and encourage many to reflect upon God’s Presence, Protection, Provision, Purification and Power in Missions.