15 Nov 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Datuk Paul Low, recently appointed to the Malaysian Cabinet as a Federal Minister, delivered his sermon at the Grace Convention Centre (GCC), Petaling Jaya on 10 November. He was the former President of Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) for five years, which is a global civil non-governmental organization with the sole purpose of fighting corruption.
While the terms “integrity”, “ethics” and “good governance” are commonly used; the word ‘corruption’ is seldom employed because it appears to be politically incorrect with an accusatory sentiment.
However, Datuk Low believes that corruption can be curtailed, if not eradicated. Although his former efforts as the President of TI-M were seen as naïve by skeptics, he learnt constructive ways to curtail this disease especially with his experience as the seasoned Managing Director of Malaysian Sheet Glass Sdn Bhd – a major Malaysian manufacturing concern.
Apart from the practical skills and knowledge he acquired in the corporate world and TI-M, the Lord also grew him spiritually by giving him the responsibility as a church elder and a deep passion for the sick, whereby he has conducted countless courses and counseling sessions in divine healing.
Because of his wholesome background, Datuk Low was able to respond decisively when he suddenly received the call to become a Federal Minister. Although he was given only a day to respond, he felt that the Lord had sufficiently conditioned and enabled him to take on the challenge of joining the Cabinet in obedience to God.
From day one in the Prime Minister’s Office, he was careful to make his apolitical stand clear. As a Federal Minister and a minister for God, he believes that ‘Satu Malaysia’ is a prophetic declaration for all people across races and religion to unite as one country in Malaysia.
However, he also realizes that some people still feel bitter and upset with God for not hearing their prayers. Over the years, they have been wounded by the injustice, inequality, and misapplication of administrative laws they perceived to be prevalent in this country. However, Datuk Low feels that – instead of folding our arms in apathy – we need to recognize that the Lord in His Sovereignty has appointed the current leadership in this country for us to submit to (Romans 13:1-5)
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
Like Job who suffered for God, Datuk Low shared that the Lord did not tell Job the reason for his suffering. Instead, he said: “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? (Job 40:7-8)” Hence, do you trust in God’s Sovereignty and His Goodness, that He works everything together for our good (Romans 8:28)?
We are called to be salt and light amongst a people who need Christ, not just among believers in Christ. Like how the yeast works its way in influencing the bread (Matt 13:33), we are called to influence the governance of our workplace in ethical ways.
How do we become influencers? Datuk Low shared that we must continue to be spiritually strong in the Lord, recognizing the weakness of the flesh. He pled for the church – his church – and his family to pray for him to be the salt and light.
And truly, the Lord has blessed Datuk Low with an expansion of his Ministerial responsibilities to also include championing the area of Human Rights, which is really the heart of God. He is involved in reducing human trafficking, rescuing children and women from modern-day slavery, curbing prostitution, and reducing the crime rate at the national level.
In fact, many biblical characters in the Bible served under imperfect leadership.
For example, Daniel and his three friends served amongst magicians, soothsayers, and enchanters in the Babylonian reign. Yet, when the Israelites were captured as exiles in Babylon, God said to them, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what you produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease (Jer 29:5-6).”
How could the Israelites have lived such comfortable and prosperous lives? Datuk Low believes that Daniel and his friends gave good advice to King Nebuchadnezzar, and out of the King’s appreciation for their service, he did not cause hardship to the Israelites.
Queen Esther is also a good example of a whistle blower. Out of a single prompting to the King, she saved the whole Jewish nation from execution. If Daniel and Esther were in today’s age, how would you react to them?
Datuk Low shared that sometimes, we tend to judge and see things according to the flesh, not the Spirit. We expect God to work in ways we deem to be better and correct, but His Ways are higher than our ways, and His Thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isa 55:9).
Although Datuk Low confessed feeling alone in the beginning for this fight against corruption, he is thankful that the Lord has since provided him with a great team of people to support his role in the cabinet. He believes that we have a bright future as Malaysians because God is working. All we need to do is to not to lose faith and continue praying, especially for our country’s leaders.
Ending his sermon with the song ‘Allegiance to the Lord,’ Datuk Low worshipped the Lord with the church. The Lord’s timing and ways are always perfect. Let us trust in His Sovereignty and remember Datuk Paul Low in all our prayers.