Ian Johnston - Meeting with Respect to Simon Dawson's Passing - Monday Night, December 31, 2012

Hymn 106 (The Pages of Life)


Hazel Dixon Prayed


Ian Johnston


Eccelesiastes 12:6, “Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.”


I count it a privilege to share in this meeting.  I have known Simon for seven years. Some of you have known him much longer.  Over the last year we laboured together in the gospel and it was a good year. I would like to share a little of what I come to know was in Simon’s heart. It had been a joy and privilege to have Simon as a companion.


Simon just loved the reads we have together every morning, we prayed together, talked together, discussed and did things together. I truly appreciated our year together.


The pitcher is a clay/earthen vessel.  Man’s body is just a vessel; made from earth. When life ends on this earth, this pitcher is broken.  The pitcher has the privilege to go to God, the source of living water, to be filled by God and after that, to be led and directed by God to pour out this living water, the living Word of God, the gospel story, to honest seeking souls, thirsting for the Word of God.


The living water is so much needed in many situations.  It is a real privilege to see our bodies as a vessel that can be used to carry His message.  The pitcher has to be clean, nothing of self to contaminate the water.  No selfish quests/motives, sanctified by God to carry His pure living Word.  It’s not about the vessel but about the message God puts within the vessel/pitcher.


Jesus the sinless one, was willing to humble Himself and in love and obedience to His Father’s plan and will, left heaven’s glory to come to the earth to show us how to serve His heavenly Father, to redeem all men back to God, the creator of heaven and earth.  Jesus took upon Himself the place of a servant and taught by example. He washed His disciples’ feet.  If we want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, we too must also wash one another’s feet.


When Jesus called His disciples to come follow Him, He didn’t promise a smooth and easy path and all things nice.  If he did, perhaps many would want to follow Him for the wrong reasons.  Revelations 1:9, John said, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation,...” Simon knew the cost to follow Jesus, he knew it was not easy but he was willing and he had a desire to be in the work.


Simon chose to walk the lowly, humble way with God many years ago.  Three years ago, Simon made another choice, to respond to God’s call to go out into the harvest field, to carry God’s Word to lost sheep, the way that Jesus had taught and lived, to fit in with God’s plan and will for his life.  He was true to this purpose to the very end of his days here.


Jesus had a single purpose from the time He left heaven’s glory to come down to do His Father’s will.  His whole life was consumed by this purpose from the beginning to the end.  Jesus knew it was not going to be easy but He was willing. He came to call sinners to repent, to turn from their sins so they too can share a place in His Father’s home in heaven.


He was rejected, humiliated, mocked, ridiculed, spat on, betrayed (even by His very own disciple), so cruelly put to death on the cross by men yet he was able to keep His peace and His joy because of His single purpose, His love to do the Father’s will, and knowing it was all part of  His Father’s plan for the redemption of all men.


When Simon offered for the work, he knew he would receive the reproach of men. Some even looked for the old Simon but he was no longer there.  Simon left a good job, he had a love for cars, a list of other things.


Simon said that his trip to through China, Mongolia, and Russia in 2006 was as something that had been ticked off the list.  In the end it was just a number, there was still an emptiness to it.  He gave his all to God and he received a good measure from God.


Simon not only loved to speak of love and joy in the Father, he was beaming with joy and these last three years were evidently Simon’s happiest.  Even with giving thanks, Simon would express his desire to honour and glorify his heavenly Father. Many times I had heard Simon plead in prayer by preceding his petitions with, “Please dear God and heavenly Father.”  Such sincere, honest, humble pleading from the heart would have touched the heart of God.


His joy to be a servant of God is evident, his love and care for the flock especially the young ones.  Simon was the elder of the church in Bangsar before he went into the work.  He took the eldership seriously.  It was not just about giving or asking for hymns.  He took a special interest in the young ones, often visiting them and he loved to meet them, have coffee with them, and really desired to know how they were spiritually.


He had an earnest care for their spiritual welfare.  Leviticus 1:16-17, “...by the place of the ashes:... and the priest shall burn it upon the altar, upon the wood that is upon the fire: it is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.” Thought of Abraham taking Isaac to the mountain.  Isaac said, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the Lamb?”


Wood is likened to the human, fire as the love of God.  God uses the human but we don’t wish to make a big thing of that.  When the human is consumed, only ashes are left. Who is able to tell whether one lot of ashes are better than another?  It’s the savour of the Lamb that matters.  Not here to make a hero out of Simon, of the human, but we do have a deep respect for the Christ/Lamb like savour we found to be in his life.


All these will not be possible if not for God who maketh all things possible.  How I long for more of that savour in my life and may we consider the question, “Where is the Lamb”  in all we say and do?


There was no question about where Simon stands.  He was surprised at seeing his name on the resting list when the workers list came out a week ago.  He was assured it was just for a time and we were looking forward to the time when he could be well enough to join us again.  He said he would be strong enough to go again in a month’s time.


A bus load of friends and workers left for Penang Convention on Tuesday (December 25, 2012) morning, bade farewell to all, none realising it would be their final farewell to Simon.


Reminded of the frailty of the body but we question not the Master’s skill and will. Simon turned 50 this year.  Thankful this is all in God's hands and are only too happy to leave it there.  Glad for a Father who sees and knows all.  Long to be faithful in our place.


Hymn 319 (‘Tis Not In Vain to Yield)


Vivien Arulsingam Closed in Prayer