When Caring About the Community Becomes a Job | TANG Po Shan

[ ‘SHARE’ May-Jun 2013 – Seeing It with Our Eyes ] CEDAR’S BLOGGER


Author> TANG Po Shan, Education and Promotion Officer

I often ponder this question: As a staff in a relief and development organisation that mobilises and encourages community concern amongst Christians, how deeply do I actually care about my society, or am I merely doing a job?

Indeed, it is wonderful to have work that combines one’s interests and ambition. It is a good thing if a person cares about his society and is able to work in a civil group or NGO, that promotes social changes through different channels such as education, services, community development, policy initiatives and social actions. Of course, caring for the society is not a privilege of a select few because it is our civic responsibility. In that face of various issues of modern society, we need skilled and able people, such as social workers, to act as frontline promoters and executors. My question is, when our work becomes routine, or when caring about society becomes a livelihood skill, would we be confusing means and ends?

I frequently ask myself, am I someone who cares about society? Outside of work, how much do I care about the society’s current affairs and how much am I concerned with the weak and disadvantaged groups? Do I keep silent in face of unrighteousness? Am I interested in spending time to listen to the poor? Am I willing to contact marginalised groups? I ask these questions not to set criteria, nor to imply anyone who fails to meet them would show that s/he is unconcerned, for I am against legalism. I believe that this is a kind of self-confrontation, to face my own life honestly, admit my self-righteousness and weakness and ask God to watch over me and have mercy on me when I fail.

Truly, concern for society is an attitude and one focus in our lives, and it should flow naturally from life. Caring about society is not about what we do but how we become someone who cares about other people and practises righteousness. I believe that, as Christians, caring for society is a spiritual discipline leading us to see people and the world as the Lord sees them, and in all areas of our life ‘to act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with God’.

When we have been at our daily task long enough and are so familiar with certain methods and teaching, things can become habitual, and even more alarmingly we ourselves do not believe what we say or do. This reminds me to reflect often on my work, challenge myself to leave my comfort zone and be courageous in walking the path of faith.