Surf and Turf Weekend
So the barely-contained rejoicing at my imminent departure continued:
a farewell with ex-colleagues: lemak fish head curry at Ocean Spoon Dining (10 Bukit Chermin, Keppel Club), then draining a sparkling Chilean while looking out to sea and chatting into the night;
farewell teatime snack while trying to avoid being photographed at Overdoughs Bakeshop and Deli (Blk 261 Waterloo Centre);
onion bread, chopped salad, ribeye, sauteed onions and mushrooms, Alaskan crab, with an old-ish friend at Morton’s Steakhouse (Mandarin Oriental);
broke bread (and crab shells) with some church folk at Mellben Seafood (Blk 232, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3) with the crabs having been done in many delicious ways;
No, they weren’t that happy to see the last of me. We actually emerged from Mandarin Oriental just in time for the National Day Preview Parade fireworks at Marina Bay.
With a fellow leaver, also yearning for a detox after far too many rich farewells, simple (though not entirely healthy) fare at Joo Seng Teochew Porridge (Upper Bukit Timah Road) and an introduction to Oldenlandia Water thereafter.
During one of the postprandial moments philosophical moments that have so populated the last fortnight, we had a bit of an argument about the prosperity gospel.
Barry Webb, who was in Singapore last week to give some evening talks at Orchard Road Presbyterian Church and run a workshop at Bethesda Bukit Arang, gave quite a good summary of popular preaching about prosperity:
- prosperity, including financial and material prosperity, is God’s will for human beings, especially Christians;
- the Bible promises prosperity;
- prosperity is necessary, not just for our personal well-being, but for the advance of the kingdom of God;
- the promises of God should be believed and acted upon (name and claim it). Therefore,
- prosperity is available to those who ask God for it in faith;
- God rewards those who give generously, so giving to the church/pastor is a sure-fire investment that will reap a harvest of even more prosperity.
None of these points correctly represent God’s word in the Bible. There is an abundance of passages in Scripture that contradict such teaching. For example, there are passages about evil people sometimes prospering (Proverbs 29:16), wealth not always being a sign of God’s blessing (Ecclesiastes 5:10-14), and also Jesus’ warning about relying on material wealth for security (Luke 12:13-21).
Solomon, possibly the most prosperous king in the history of Israel, was given his wealth precisely because he did not ask for riches:
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor —so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” (1 Kings 3)