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"One of the great privileges of working is that you can make a difference, not just to the company but to the people," said Ps-Dr Philip Lyn at Coram Deo, a Christian Leadership Series of lunch talks by Far East Organization for staff. Photo courtesy of Far East Organization.

In his job, he gets to “peek behind the masks people wear – the one that we all bring to work”, revealed Pastor-Doctor Philip Lyn, Senior Pastor of Skyline Church in Kota Kinabalu.

“Behind every mask is a person who has a life, a family, who has relationships, and both challenges and needs.”  

“We all have masks. Nothing wrong, it’s just a certain kind of decorum,” said Pastor Philip, speaking in Singapore on July 14 at Coram Deo, a Christian Leadership Series of lunch talks by Far East Organisation for staff. 

“But behind every mask is a person who has a life, a family, who has relationships, and both challenges and needs.”  

We do not just live for work, Pastor Philip reminded the audience.

“We are made for more than work; there must be meaning and purpose to it. In and of itself, work will never satisfy because it’s something external to us.”

Bringing meaning to work

One of the ways work has meaning is the impact of our life on another’s, pointed out Pastor Philip, who practises internal medicine at his own clinic on weekdays and serves alongside a team of other bi-vocational pastors in Skyline on the weekends.

“Whether you are believer by faith in Jesus Christ like me, and whether you know it or not, you are a light.”

“Showing kindness and compassion to all, but especially to the one or two others that God gives us the means to – that injects meaning into life.

“One of the great privileges of working is that you can make a difference, not just to the company but to the people. You can build the culture, the atmosphere and relationships that will cause both your life and the life of the people you work with to flourish.

“You don’t need to be high up in management to do that. Any one of us can do it.

“Whether you are believer by faith in Jesus Christ like me, and whether you know it or not, you are a light.”

Ps-Dr Philip Lyn taking a question from the audience of Far East Organization staff at the lunchtime talk on July 14, 2022.

Pastor Philip elaborated on what the four types of lights that Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:14-16 would look like in a work context.

Below is an excerpt of his talk which has been edited for length.

1. A lamp

In Jesus’ days, lamps were likely oil lamps or candles that were small and short – easily hidden.

Lamplight is associated with integrity, which is wholeness of character. 

The world tells us to work on image and reputation alone, but true reputation proceeds from within, from integrity.

Integrity is not reputation. Reputation is what people think you are. Integrity is who you really are when you’re alone and before God, when what we are on the outside and the inside is the same.

The world tells us to work on image, work and reputation alone, but actually true reputation proceeds from within, from integrity.

Never think that your light is too small. Never think that because I’m not a high position in that company that “my light doesn’t count”, it does.

Integrity is a very quiet thing. But it’s the thing that’s fundamentally important for all of us.

The thing about integrity is this: It is only a small light but in darkness, any light makes a difference.

Sometimes some corners of our workplace can be quite dark places of relationships, cover ups, things that aren’t done right.

2. Lampstand light 

The second thing that’s so necessary, even indispensable, in the workplace, is what I call “lampstand light”.

Jesus says, no one just lights a lamp, they put it on a lampstand. If you put the light on a stand, it lights up part of the room. Whereas if you just have a small kerosene lamp, it only lights up a little corner.

Excellence in spirit will always mean a growth in your influence.

A lampstand light like this is more widely seen.

Now, integrity is not clearly seen often in workplaces, you only know who are the people who have integrity when you work with them at close quarters, it’s not a bright thing. But Lampstand light is brighter.

Competency and excellence is the lingua franca of the workplace. That’s the first thing they will draw people’s attention. Competency will lead to excellence: As you get more and more competent, eventually, there will be excellence.

But there also needs to be excellence in spirit.

It is the spirit of always giving the best we can, in the best way we can, for the best outcome we can, to secure the best long-term relationship for the best long-term benefit for the company.

There are some people who are really very great high achievers, but they’re actually toxic – they stamp on people. When you work with them, it’s a really unpleasant atmosphere. 

Excellence in spirit will always mean a growth in your influence.

3. Floodlights

Floodlights are the third kind of lights Jesus talked about.

Jesus said: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Floodlights are a kind of light that everybody knows. At the stadium, under floodlights, everybody can see the game. The whole of the organisation knows something good was happening. 

Two types of things are floodlights: First, good works. Second is what I call “God works”.

A miracle is a paradox with a divine cause.

One of the things that we often fear to bring into our workplace is good works. Works of kindness, of compassion, of mercy, a spirit of compassion, and empathy for all who work with us and under us.

Because sometimes we see the workplace as very, very number orientated. But you can’t live by numbers. The only people excited by numbers are accountants.

In one place, there may be 10 people working there. But 10 people represent 10 lives. 

Besides good works, there is what I call “God works”, the miracles and supernatural works of God.

Do I believe miracles take place today?

A miracle is a paradox with a divine cause. A paradox is when you have two truths that conflict and cannot coexist. But when you look at it, they actually do coexist. Paradoxes happen all the time.

What undergirds the whole understanding of reality today – quantum mechanics – is a paradox. Is light a wave? Is it a particle? It is both. How can it be both?

It is both. How, I don’t know, but it is both a wave and a particle.

Don’t believe that the physical reality is all that you have: You are more than just atoms and electrons.

What controls the universe today is 95% unseen, made out of dark energy and dark matter. All that you see around you and can touch or measure – even to the galaxies and all the planets ­– is only 5% of all matter in the universe.

What is dark matter? We don’t know. But we know it’s out there. And it will control the ultimate fate of the universe and our existence.

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner and one of the most famous theoretical physicists, said that when people say they understand quantum mechanics, it is a clear evidence that they don’t understand quantum mechanics. Because it’s a paradox.

That’s why I believe that if we are prepared to just open ourselves, we will know there’s another dimension beyond science. Science already points towards that. Because the whole of physics and science is undergirded by paradox.

And the greatest paradox that ever happened to me was life.

The resurrection of four-year-old Sarah Lyn: A father’s experience of the life-giving Word

About 20 years ago, my four-year-old daughter was found accidentally strangulated on a clothesline. She was brought down dead.

We live in a world where there’s such a thing as a divine paradox. Don’t believe that the physical reality is all that you have: You are more than just atoms and electrons.

She was found hanging at four o’clock in the afternoon. She woke up at four o’clock in the morning on her fourth birthday.

Today, Sarah is 24 years old. She’s working as a medical resident doctor now in Australia.

God does divine paradoxes like that.

Every life here counts. It doesn’t matter what background you come from: God loves you. Your life counts. You can be a light from where you are.

4. City lights

And when each one of us become lights, then Jesus says, “a city set on a hill cannot be hidden”.

in Galilee, where Jesus was teaching this, there was only one city on a hill at that time, the city of Tiberius.

God loves you. Your life counts. You can be a light from where you are.

If you’re on the lake and everything is dark, how do you know where you’re going?

The city lights immediately tells you to orientate north or south, east or west.

When we all have our lights – whether as a lamp light, a lampstand, or a floodlight – then, an organisation, a company, can be like a city on a hill; it gives direction.

When we are like city lights on the hill, then a company becomes a plus place of flourishing – you flourish, and not just you, but your family, your marriage, your finances, your mental health, emotionally healthy relationships.

And when you come to work, there’s both meaning, and there is purpose.

And that’s what Jesus is trying to do for all of us so that you can have meaning and purpose. He says, wherever you are, however small, you are a light.

So shine, wherever you are.


FOR MORE STORIES ON WORK:

“We want to help people find the joy in work”: One man’s mission to transform work as we see it

More than just a rat race: Christian professionals mentor uni students to make an impact at work

How your “ordinary” work illuminates the mysteries of God

About the author

Tan Huey Ying

Huey Ying is now an Assignments Editor at Salt&Light, having worked in finance, events management and aquatics industries. She usually has more questions than answers but is always happiest in the water, where she's learning what it means to "be still".

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