The Long-Term Informs the Short-Term

Jesus said, “Look, I am coming soon!” – Revelation 21:7,12

Some time ago, I was on a retreat at a centre and looking out of the window of my room. Right in front of me, I saw the leaves of the palm trees, but in the distance, I could see a large garden, with different plants and shrubs. I noticed the different textures of leaves and various shades of green and I journaled, “God is here and near; but he is also deep, and over there and far off.” 

In John’s visions recorded in the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ says that he is coming (Rev 1:7) and coming soon (Rev 21:7,12). For Christians this is the ultimate hope of our faith, that Jesus Christ will return just as he has promised. We need to keep this long-term view of God’s story, and allow that to inspire and instruct us to the short term, daily work and routines. 

I have been teaching in the area of missions and inter-disciplinary subjects for some years now, and I need to hold on to this dual perspective. Sometimes I get too caught up in the here and now and what I can see, that I forget the big picture. Some students come wanting only to learn ‘the Bible’ and chaff when they have to learn history or cultural interpretation. At that time, they don’t see the value of such skills or knowledge. However, after they graduate and I hear their stories, I am encouraged by their creativity and resilience as they pull together their all their training and experience into their work – whether it is in setting up a library for children, or hanging around Little India to reach out to guest workers, or faithfully caring for elderly parents or disabled children within the family. May their ministries bear much fruit in the Kingdom of God. 

I appreciate SCGM because they present the big and broad picture of missions, through the National Missions Survey and some of the topics for discussion at the monthly breakfast meetings. Since the Missio Dei is so broad, these are helpful signposts which provide guidance on what individuals and churches can do here and now.

Jesus said that he is coming soon. While 2,000 years is a long time by human reckoning, it is not so with God. Meanwhile, we continue to do the tasks that are laid out for us with this dual perspective.


DR KWA KIEM KIOK is a lecturer in Missiology and Interdisciplinary Studies at the Biblical Graduate School of Theology.


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.




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