Headstart: #2 RELEASED
Shernese is married to David, is a regular at Headstart, works at “Which New Bank”.. and sits over at L18 the executive floor along with the CFO and CEO. She loves everything to do with Marketing, great Malaysian Roti Bakar and …. DURIAN!! Check out what she took away from our series on RELEASED – from Self Preservation below.
The last term of Headstart for 2018 is flying by, with the most recent session marking the halfway point of our Released series. On Monday, we were lucky enough to have Craig Josling interviewed about his life in the lens of Self-Preservation. For those of you who don’t know Craig, he’s the founder of City Bible Forum - the organisation that we know, love and the very means by which Headstart exists (woohoo Craig!). City Bible Forum started out as ECom (Evangelising Commerce) back in 1991 before some of us were even born. It wasn’t long before he enlisted the help of his good friend, Peter Kaldor, to work for the organisation. But we’ll get back to Craig’s story in a bit…
What Does Self-Preservation Actually Mean?
When I first saw the topic of Self-Preservation, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Two thoughts came to mind; plastic surgery and mummification. As it turns out, Monday was about neither of these things.
Rather, Self-Preservation can be defined as ‘protecting oneself from a threat’. As humans, we are instinctively inclined to look out for ourselves or to prolong our lives. For example, when you hop onto a super-packed train (probably due to urgent mechanical repairs at Central), you’re almost always looking for the best spot to stand - somewhere that’s near a wall with a pole to hold onto so that you won’t fall over when the train jolts (Happy Birthday for Wednesday Alex Yu!). You can see that we’re looking out for ourselves - we’re ensuring that we have the best spot available. So, Self-Preservation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It simply means that we’re taking care and sustaining ourselves.
But, what happens when Self-Preservation turns into Self-Absorption? It’s not such a good thing anymore and we can fall into being risk-averse and unaware of anything outside our little spheres. The only person we end up looking after is ourself.
Freed From Self-Preservation, For…?
Because we are saved by Christ, we can be saved FROM Self-Preservation. And, using Mark’s framework for the term, we need to ask ourselves, what are we released FOR and moreover, what’s the Even Better that we gain from being saved?
Mark explained that we are freed FROM Self-Preservation and FOR Self-Giving. In Acts 20:32-35, we hear that “Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’. Because of Jesus, Self-Preservation is replaced by Self-Giving - we can put others first, focus on their needs and extend ourselves for that purpose.
And because our God is a great God, not only is Self-Preservation replaced, but we are given an Even Better deal in our freedom. In Luke 9:23-24, Jesus teaches that ‘whoever wants to save their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for me will save it.’ By replacing Self-Preservation with Self-Giving, God allows us to truly fulfil ourselves; we realise Self-Actualisation (think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). This is far better than a constant cycle of Self-Preservation!
Back to Craig
In 2003, Peter had asked to take the reins as he felt that he was a better fit to run the organisation. Craig candidly shared that it was a very difficult decision, having to consider stepping aside for someone else to take over. Imagine having to hand over your baby, an idea that you built from the ground up. In the end, Craig made the choice to step aside. While that has been challenging, look where City Bible Forum is today! With a presence across the nation, the organisation is reaching city workers everyday in so many different ways. That’s a testament to both Craig and Peter’s gifts and hard work. But it’s also a huge testament to Craig’s decision to give and choose the path contrary to Self-Preservation.
We will undoubtedly face decisions similar to Craig’s in the future, if you haven’t already. A decision that runs counter to a basic instinct of Self-Preservation is very uncomfortable. As hard as those decisions are, I’m glad I’ve heard Craig’s story - I’m hoping I’ll remember it to better trust God’s ultimate plan.