I reckon I have but a few days on tour left to record that which this experience has taught me. Reclining, laptop on my (guess what) lap, I thus continue with Singapore.
I must admit that as soon as I start thinking back at Singapore, I am overtaken with nostalgia. I really enjoyed and profited greatly from my time on that island state. Our sixth floor apartment in Building B of Normanton park, provided a private workplace for all in the family. I remember with great joy my two tables set up around the corner by the window in my bedroom. On those tables I coughed blood! (Figuratively speaking off course...) You see, my grandmothers arrival brought with it my UNISA work. The problem was that exactly 2 weeks after her arrival, 4 of my Math assignments were due. That's a whole terms work I had to do in a fortnight! And, to make things worse, I only learned when she arrived that I needed two textbooks! Well, long story short, I spent a lot of time at those two little tables by the window! (By the grace of God alone did I meet my deadlines, if you're wondering J ) At those two tables and lying in my bed in the same room, I also shared great moments with my God. It was late one night, after a little joyless reading, that the Lord spoke to me about what I'll soon share.
I also remember what went on outside that window I so often looked out of though. For one, it seemed to rain constantly when I was inside (yet strangely enough, rarely when I was outside). That outside I remember fondly. The park adjacent our complex, with its endless paths and many benches. The large swimming pool with water at the perfect temperature. The soccer field where I helped get Charlie ready for his rugby. (P.S. Oom Piet Coetzee. Oom skuld my vir al my sweet, bloed en brakefluid wat van Switserland se bulte tot Phuket se strande en Singapoer se modder in sy fiksheid ingegaan het.) The city and all its subways and sights. The shops of SimLim and the Funan centre where we went tech-shopping. And the list continues...
I really enjoyed Singapore tremendously.
It was also in Singapore that the Lord taught me the one thing that has probably made a larger impact on my life this year than anything else. It is this that I wish to share, both as a reminder to myself and in the hope that it might also provide to someone else even a glimpse of the value it did to me. Ready? Here goes:
Apply your mind.
The Lord has blessed the human race with this incalculably valuable gift and yet we seem to ill use it. Its like receiving a U$10 000 gift certificate (non transferable, not redeemable as cash and valid for a day) for a shopping spree at, say Wal-Mart, and for some reason only buying a pack of peanuts! We don't apply our minds. Or, at least I can speak for myself and confess that I am often too lazy to really think.
Yet, really thinking is what gives birth to understanding. And understanding is the foundation of effective action. Understanding schoolwork leads to good grades. Its not mere talent, but the ability to fully use that talent that sets successful people apart. Utilising greater portions of our potential not only puts food on the table, but a Porsche in the garage. Thinking on (or, to state it in biblical terms, meditating on) the Bible transforms us into Christ-likeness. Applying our mind gets the results we want in our lives. So, why don't I do it more often?!
Well, because it's hard. It's a lot easier to mindlessly memorise a bunch of formulas that understand where they come from. After a year, though, memorised formulas are forgotten, but understood ones, stick. It's easier to play a chess match move for move, but the ones who think ahead, seem to win. Listen to this: It is easier to hear the Word of God from the pulpit than to struggle through that which you fail to comprehend with just the Bible and the Spirit ("with just the Bible and the Spirit" does anyone else see how funny our reasoning often is?) to help you. But it is the latter that produces in you a spirit akin to that of Christ's.
More often than not, however, once I started applying my mind, I realised that it seemed harder than it actually was. What also always holds true, is that the profit gained from the harder road of applying your mind is entirely worth the effort. Christ said we are to count the cost of following Him. It's hard. Yet, He said that His yoke is easy. It's not too hard for you to bear. And finally, His road leads to everlasting life in paradise. The other road land you forever in the pit of burning sulphur!
Secondly, I often do not apply my mind because I do not need to in order to be good enough. In our modern world the definition of good enough has been radically distorted, though. Am I good enough when I make a living? Am I good enough when I can put my kids through university? (Luckily none of my worries yet.) Am I good enough when I am better than everyone else around me? Am I good enough when I am better at one thing than those around me? Am I good enough when enough (or the right) people give me enough credit? At what point can I stop applying my mind because I am good enough?
Ask this question to any sprinter and I believe he'll laugh at you. A sprinter, though he might not be the fastest (and even if he is) will not stop accelerating till he runs flat-out!
And that is exactly what God wants of us. Our very best! And he knows what our best is! (The best way to impress this on you is to ask you to go watch the movie "Facing the Giants". Your very best!)
The third reason I often do not apply my mind or reach my full potential, is because I am unaware of what that is. Without any fancy talk, let me bust this hurdle to complete mind application once and for all. In 1 Corinthians 2:16b the Word clearly states: "We have the mind of Christ!" The mind that envisaged the universe. The mind that conjured up salvation. The mind that keeps everything spinning. That mind is in me!
Now you know your potential. Go reach it.
Apply your mind. Think things through. Keep asking questions (to God and to other people) until you understand. Trust God for the answers. It's your responsibility to understand, not someone else's. Ask the right questions. Determine where your understanding is derailed and attack that curve. Maintain your highest level of concentration. Apply your mind.
P.S. I probably should have applied my mind to furnish this post with a better conclusion, shouldn't I? Or is it that learning to apply your mind is a never ending process? That more of your mind needs to be applied as it is exercised? Maybe this post thus should not have a conclusion?
P.P.S. What do you think about that sort-of-yet-not-conclusion?
P.P.P.S. "And that's all I have to say about that." (In a thick Alabaman accent)