Bishop's Message

Outwardly fading, inwardly flourishing

Outwardly fading inwardly flourishing

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

By the time you read this, I will have turned 62. Still considered a spring chicken by many of you who are much older, but I already identify with the person who said that there are three clear signs that we are getting older. One, we start losing our hair. Two, we start losing our memory. And three … I forget what that third sign was! Maybe it had to do with becoming cornier!

Anyhow, the Bible does not ask us to pretend or pray that our outward physical bodies will never deteriorate or fade away. The apostle Paul explicitly affirms that outwardly and physically, we will fade away and get weaker. This is something which we (if we are honest), and others (if they are not being polite), can clearly see. But Paul urges us not to lose heart or get discouraged by this visible ageing process. Instead, he urges us to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).

And what is this currently “unseen” but “eternal” reality? Paul tells us in the very next verse: “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV).

So, even though outwardly we can see that our bodies are fading away, let us be encouraged and refreshed each new day, by God’s promise of a future that is as yet unseen. A future promise that we will have heavenly bodies which, in contrast to our earthly bodies which are like temporary tents, will be like eternal buildings.

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.
~ Robert Browning

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2020. He served as President of the Trinity Annual Conference from 2013 to 2020.