The success of the canteen business has enabled us to understand that we are to worship God through our work as well as bring in wealth to extend the Kingdom of God without having to constantly appeal to others for contribution. God rewards diligence and hard work. The religious line dividing the spiritual from the earthly has now been shifted. Jesus is Lord of all of our life. Be it in the marketplace or in the church, we are all serving the Lord with the purpose of extending His Kingdom. Anything less will mean Jesus is not Lord of our life. Our bold venture into the business realm has also become a model for other churches to  follow. It is a well known saying in church board meetings, "If Calvary Church can do this, why can't we?" 

The original idea of the canteen was to operate only on Saturdays and Sundays, catering to church members only. This was to provide a place for church members to fellowship over meals after services. However, this concept did not work well after the initial excitement as the quality of food served was not ideal. The idea of running the canteen professionally and opening to serve the community instead of members only was birthed. Mr. Goh You Chai, who had experience in the food and beverage industry was asked to head this project. The first year of operation was difficult as members of the public were not sure if they were welcome. Once this wall of segregation was broken down, the community began to come and sample the best char kuey teow and pan mian in Tawau. In 2007, Calvary Canteen was featured in Malaysia’s premier food and lifestyle magazine, Flavours as a must-go food place in Tawau. The canteen is also a must-visit for the folks coming back to Tawau to visit their loved ones.

The establishment of Calvary Canteen was very significant in the development of church ministry because churches were struggling with the concept of whether they could be involved in business. The old mindset was that the church is a spiritual entity and that business is a worldly enterprise. We struggled with scriptures that said we are not to “turn the house of prayer into a den of robbers”. The wrong interpretation of this verse would mean that all businessmen are robbing people instead of being rewarded for providing a service to the community using the talents and creativity that God has given to us. 

Canteen's early day 早期食堂

Canteen today 现今食堂

Local favourites - char kuey teow and pan mian本地著名的炒粿条和板面

食堂生意的成功让我们明白我们也要藉着我们的工作成为我们的敬拜,同时把财富带进神的国而不需要一直依靠人的捐献。神赏赐那些勤奋与努力工作的人。属灵和属世的界限就被挪开了。耶稣是我们生命全能的主。无论我们是在职场或在教会,我们都全心来服事主来扩展神的国,否则就意味着耶稣不是我们生命的主。我们大胆踏入生意的领域使我们成为许多教会的楷模。教会理事会议盛传的一句话:“如果加略山城市教会可以做,为什么我们不可以呢?”

食堂起初的计划仅是在星期六和星期日运作,以便教会会友在崇拜结束后有地方团聚。后来,食堂的经营理念延伸至以优质水准的食物服务社会大众。吴有财先生,一位在饮食业有经验者就带领这项计划。第一年的运作并不如理想,因为社会大众并不确定教会食堂是否对外开放。然而当隔墙被打破了之后,加略山食堂的炒粿条和板面变得家喻户晓。2007年一本食评杂志专栏推荐加略山食堂是斗湖“必访好吃处”。加略山食堂也成为那游子归乡到访的好地方。

这对教会服事的发展是别具意义的。因为许多教会一直都在在挣扎 - 到底教会可否参与谋利的生意里。在旧思想里,教会是属灵的组织而生意则是属世的企业。我们挣扎于经文上所记载的:不要“把祷告的殿成为贼窝。”对这经文错误的诠释是:所有的生意人是盗贼夺取别人的财富,而不是因着他们善用上帝给予的创意与才干,以好的服事所带来的赏赐。

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