January 26, 2013
Still holding on to Christ
George Henry - Samuel Smalling
GEORGE HENRY, STAR Writer
Samuel Smalling was only 12 years old when he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. Well, 34 years later he is still holding on to Christ as his master.
"I was 12 years old but used to attend church on a regular basis. I came from a Christian home, so I had to visit church every Sunday, walking for a possible four miles to church. I was not exposed to a lot of the worldly stuff really," said Smalling.
He admitted that since he started his walk with Christ life for him has been very exciting. Smalling pointed out that especially in his early years as a Christian, it was all good despite the challenges he had to face on his Christian journey.
Smalling has served in various capacities at the Ebenezer United Church, near Spur Tree in Manchester, including being a Sunday school teacher and even now as a lay preacher. He was more than happy to say that serving God has been wonderful.
"I have had very good times serving Jesus. Generally, I am a very positive person. I believe challenges are there to make you a better person; so you cannot ignore the challenges. They (challenges) are stepping stones, so you learn from these experiences so you can be a better Christian. So challenges strengthen you so that you can overcome when more difficult times come," testified the lay preacher.
The former evangelistic director, who has also served for over 20 years in the Jamaica Youth for Christ as chapter and zone director, pointed out that he has served in almost every area of church work. He added, however, that the church should not just be seen as a building but as a bigger entity.
"The church is bigger than where one actually worships. I would say that the greatest joy and responsibility to me now is playing my role as dean of discipline at the Cross Keys High School in Manchester," noted Smalling.
He explained that his Christian life has impacted his role as a dean of discipline, as he sees his role as being a servant serving students while representing God. Smalling said his role ensures that he gives guidance to students while he mentors them to make sure that they follow in the steps of the Lord.
there is a better way
"So even as you engage them, you use the opportunity to share your faith to them; because a lot of them come from very difficult circumstances. Some of them don't even go to church; have never gone to Sabbath or Sunday school. So my life now has to encourage them to recognise that there is a better way," said Smalling.
He is calling on children to understand that the church as an agent of socialisation plays a critical role in children's development. He noted that he does not think many children understand how their life can be transformed when they accept Christ in their life and even attend church.
"Research has shown that students who attend Sunday school or even Sabbath school also behave better. So I want to encourage every young person, even if you are not a Christian, go to church on a Sabbath or on Sunday so that you can get this influence in terms of building your character, building your morale so that you can be a better person," encouraged the church leader.
The lay preacher's favourite Bible verse is "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me." Another of his favourite is "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy path". For Smalling, his chorus is 'Nobody greater than God'.
I have had very good times serving Jesus. Generally, I am a very positive person. I believe challenges are there to make you a better person; so you cannot ignore the challenges.