Saturday, March 31, 2012

What Shall We Read?

The great apostle Paul told young Pastor Timothy, “Give attention to reading” (1 Tim. 4:13).

To a great degree the mind is affected by that upon which it feeds. A non-believer of God or Christ, whether young or old normally read story books, tales, and other literatures, and newspapers with “attractive” headlines. Because of the fantastic stories or reading materials fed to their minds, they have no interest in reading the Bible or to attend Bible study. To them the Bible is a boring book to read, and there are more important things to do than to read the Bible or to attend Bible study.

Rev. Mike Keyes of the Keyes Ministries International in Northern Mindanao, said: “I do not read newspapers anymore, only the Bible.” In our office, there are no newspapers to read in our waiting area, only the FGBMFI Saturday bulletin and the latest book bound, The LEGAL 500 by John Pritchard which is sent to us yearly without cost on our part. We were not even interviewed at all. This is the publication of the 500 best lawyers or law offices in Asia Pacific, namely: Australia, China, Hongkong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

In the Philippines, we find the ACCRA law firm headed by Senator Edgardo Angara and the Hernandez, Salazar & Sycip, as among the outstanding. Particularly in Davao, listed in the book are, of course, the same above-named law firms, because they have branch offices in Davao City, and out of the more than one thousand lawyers and law offices in Davao, only the Dominguez, Paderna and Tan, and the Cariaga Law offices are listed. Praise God! Glory to God!

Some clients and friends who are Christians would beg to bring home the FGBMFI magazine, but invariably, some of the magazines become missing without our knowing who got them. At any rate, I’m happy that some people, especially the Christians, are interested to read our Saturday bulletin. On the other hand, the thick book bound publication (about 1-1/2”) of 500 lawyers and law firms in Asia Pacific is seldom read or opened by any client or visitor waiting. They simply have no interest who are the lawyers or laws offices listed. So, there remain somewhat “untouched”.

The Word of God, or the Bible is the true manna from heaven. Why called manna? Because it cost us nothing to know the Word. It was given free by God himself (the ten commandments written with finger of God [Exo. 31:18 & Deut. 9:10]) and through holy men of God like Moses and the prophets as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1:21). It does not only feed the soul spiritually but gives to the reader and believer a true guide on salvation, and a guide for correct, peaceful, healthful and fruitful living. It gives the obedient a prosperous, peaceful and long life (Prov. 3:1-2).

In order to have a healthy tone of mind and sound religious principles, we must live in communion with God through His Word. It contains the most interesting and most instructive history and biography that were ever written, the good part of it is for our example to emulate and follow. The bad part is a lesson for us to avoid. Those whose imaginations have not been perverted by the reading of fiction or other kinds of undesirable reading literatures will find the Bible the most interesting of all books.

The Bible is the Book of books. If we love the Word, searching it as we have opportunity like searching for material treasure, that we may come into the possession of the rich spiritual treasures that it contains and be thoroughly furnished unto all good works, then we can be assured that God, or Jesus is drawing us to Himself. He will become our “idol”. Idolatry is a sin and will bring us to hell. However, I personally believe that it is all right to idolize Jesus Christ in all matters and things. He is our perfect example.

Therefore, we should resolutely discard all worthless reading. Such reading will not strengthen our spirituality, but will introduce into the mind sentiments or ideas that will pervert the imagination, causing us to think less of God or of Jesus and to dwell less upon His precious lessons, instructions, guarantees and promises.

Jesus Christ claimed that He is the bread of life. His words are our spiritual bread and food. As we eat physical or earthly food not only three times a day, with merienda in between, we should likewise feed ourselves as often as could be with the Word of God, which is our spiritual food. A true Christian must set aside a special time daily to read and meditate on the Word. As the original disciples “ate” the words of Christ everyday, their understanding was quickened. They were not degree holders or educated in the best known universities but supernatural wisdom was bestowed on them as they listened to and followed the teachings and instructions of the best teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ. Their canonized writings irrefragably and eloquently prove their wisdom. The wisest man that ever lived on earth said, “Wisdom is the principal thing: therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting, get understanding” (Prov. 4:7 KJV). And Solomon was not a degree holder or a summa cum laude of any university. God gave him the wisdom he needed because he asked for it (1 Kings 3:9). And because his request pleased the LORD God, he was given bunoses of a large and a wise and understanding heart, and both riches and honor (1 Kings 3:10-13). There was only one thing that Solomon did not enjoy - “length of days, and long life, and peace” (Prov. 3:2), because he failed to meet the conditions imposed by God which was “and if thou wilt walk in my way, to keep my statues and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days” (I Kings 3:14 KJV). He was twenty years young when he became King and he reigned forty years as King, then he died. Only sixty short years. Why? Obviously he failed to comply with the conditions set by God. Our Bible records:

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel. Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.” (1 Kings 11:1-3 KJV)

I am sure his private marital life was not peaceful, although his kingdom was peaceful. By the way, Solomon means “peace”. Why? Because of too many wives and concubines! Those married who are wise know this! Mahirap pakisamahan ang nag-iisang asawa. Papano na lang kung pakisamahan mo ang 1,000 women! (It is difficult to please only one wife, how much more difficult to please a thousand women).

The Word of God will not only make us wise unto salvation, but will make us a wise man. “From a wise man comes wise speech: the words of the wise are persuasive” (Prov. 16:23 NLT). Solomon adds: “Wise speech is rarer and more valuable than gold and rubies” (Prov. 20:15 NLT).

One day my client brought to my office a security guard-employee who has been given free quarters in the display center of a large surplus vehicle company (the largest in the Philippines), accompanied by his two co-employees. He keeps the key to all the vehicles on display for sale. One of the cars appeared to have been stolen while he allegedly was out of his quarters for some personal reasons. A portion of the fence was destroyed ostensively to allow the passage of the stolen car.

I told my client to bring the suspect to the police for investigation instead because my own would be viewed as bias. Passing by the display center of my client, the suspect asked from the two employee-escorts to be excused a while to answer the call of nature. Allegedly after ten steps away, the suspect suddenly jumped over the fence and lost himself in the darkness of the night.

There was no witness at all to the thievery or robbery. I opted to file a qualified theft case, not robbery because it was an “inside job”. Not having any witness, I thought of quoting in the complaint Solomon’s Prov. 28:1 which says, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth; but the righteous are bold as a lion”. The City Prosecutor resolved to file the case for qualified theft basing his resolution on the Word of God. In fact, he quoted Prov. 28:1. So, my knowledge of the aforequoted Word of God helped the Prosecutor to resolve the case even without any human witness.

Indeed, it is important for us to know, read and study God’s Word. Our minds will be quickened and our understanding enlarged and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Those who receive and assimilate this Word, making it a part of every act, of every attribute of character, grow strong in the strength of God, and become credible and influential. It gives vigor to the soul, perfecting the experience, and bringing joys that abide forever, and, of course, success in life. “Experience is the best teacher”.

Let us continue to read and immerse ourselves in the study of the Word of God. Blessed are those who attend our Saturday fellowship in Grand Men Seng Hotel for they receive instructions from the Word of God by well-chosen preachers and teachers of the Word. (FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin March 31, 2012)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Can Whoremongers, Liars and Murderers Be Saved?

The story of Rahab, the harlot or prostitute, is a very interesting one because it implies that there is hope for whoremongers to be in heaven, upon one condition: if she knows God and believes in Him as her Lord and Savior and put her complete faith in God.

St. John, after describing the grandeur of the new heaven and new earth in chapter 21 of Revelation, said:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.” (vs. 21:8 KJV).

Notably, the Bible says:

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (vs. 21:27 KJV)

Then, to stress further the same point, John again said:

For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (vs. 22:15 KJV).

Rahab was not only a whoremonger (prostitute) but a liar. The story goes:

Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men to spy secretly. “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying. “Bring out the men who have come to you, for they have come to search out all the country. Then she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. “And as the gate was being shut, the men went out. …pursue them quickly, for you may overtake them”. (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.) then the men pursued them … So before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, whom you utterly destroyed. “As soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven about and on earth beneath. “Now therefore, I beg you, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token. “… and deliver our lives from death. So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you” (Joshua 2:1-14).”

I find the above story puzzling and mind boggling, for her own life and that of her family was spared and she was even honored by becoming part of the family line or genealogy of the Messiah [Jesus Christ] (Mt. 1:5).

For many of us, especially the very religious ones, this story - saving a woman of loose moral and a liar - has no place in heaven. She is simply a disgrace and clearly disqualified citizen of heaven. But God works in wonderful ways. Indeed, what is not possible with man is possible with God, or with God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:25; Jer. 32:17).

There is another story in our Bible about King David committing adultery with Bathsheba. To conceal his sin, he “murdered” the solider-husband of Bathsheba. In those days, adultery and murder were heinous crimes punishable with death by stoning. But the Bible tells us that David confessed his transgression to the Lord and was forgiven the inequity of his sin” (Ps. 32:5; Ps. 51) and to him was restored the “joy of salvation” (Ps. 51:12). Out of David’s illicit relation with Bathsheba, Solomon was born, the wisest man that ever lived on earth, the author of Song of Solomon, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and some of the Psalms, and who became the third King of Israel. What a blessing to be parents of the wisest man!

No matter how sinful we have been, no matter what our position may be, if we will repent and believe and continue believing and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and savior, we can be saved to the uttermost.

Moses committed murder of an Egyptian while coming to the rescue of an Hebrew slave, but there is no doubt, we will find Moses in heaven. The gospels tell us that if we look to lust on a woman, we have already committed adultery; and if we hate our brother, we commit murder. If not for the grace of God, I wonder if we will find any normal man in heaven.

But if we repent and believe and trust that Jesus Christ can save us and he is the only way, then we have hope to be in heaven (John 14:6).

On the other hand, delving now on liars, Abraham and Sarah lied to King Abimelech that they are brothers and sisters, only to save their lives because in those days the King could have put to death Abraham so he could have beautiful Sarah as his own wife or mistress (Gen. 20:5).

Abraham’s son, Isaac, also denied to King Abimelech that Rebekah who was “fair to look upon” was his wife, otherwise he will be put to death by the King. “Pilyo at maniac talaga si King Abimelech”. This is where we got the saying: “Like father, like son”. Notice that interestingly, in both instances, despite their lies, Abraham received abundant material blessings from the King (Gen. 20:14-16). And in the case of Isaac, the King charged his people, saying, “He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death” (Gen. 26:11). And the Lord God blessed Isaac an hundredfold when he “sowed in that land in the same year” (vs. 12) and he waxed great, and grew very great and he had possession of flocks, herds and great store of servants and the Philistines envied him” (vs. 12-14).

Now, don’t misunderstand me that I am advocating the commission of lies, adultery and murder to be blessed and saved. My point is that sinners have hope to be blessed and be saved for as long that they believe in God, repent and have faith in God (Jesus Christ alone) as their only Savior.

One might be a notorious sinner like Rahab, or like David, and Moses who committed murder, or Abraham, Sarah and Isaac who lied and misrepresented, but if he/she finds the only way, the truth and the life and the only savior Jesus Christ, and repents and be born again, a place in heaven awaits that person. (FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, March 24, 2012)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Doing The Hard Work

Henry Sy, the owner of a chain of SM Mega Malls in all major cities in the Philippines and the number one taxpayer according to BIR records, in an interview, said: “Success does not come overnight and it is the result of hard work”.

There are no short-cuts to success. Of course, there can be an exception by marrying a rich man or woman. However, more often this ends in divorce, because the primary reason is not LOVE. Or one can be a drug lord or gambling lord or engage in graft and corruption, if a government official, and by other dishonest means for any businessman, but these do not last long. It oftentimes end in tragedy and extreme embarrassment, if not incarceration, or even self-inflicted death or suicide to render any investigation moot or no longer possible.

Likewise, Christlikeness is not attained overnight and it requires hard work. This is what the Apostle Paul was trying to tell his disciple, the young Pastor Timothy, when he told him how he should behave by example so he could effectively teach believers how they should live. Specifically, he said: “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness”. These are all virtues of Jesus Christ, and the attributes of God himself. Then, he added: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…” (1 Tim. 6:11-12 KJV). This is the ultimate goal of every believer, and this is hard work! This is the reason why no Bishop or any official of the Church of God who is a novice (or new Christian) qualifies to be appointed as such because that one will be “lifted up with pride” and fall into the condemnation of the devil (1 Tim. 3:6 KJV). This is the basis of the tradition or rule of churches, fellowships and other religious organizations that only matured Christians are qualified to be appointed or elected as leaders.

How will we know that someone is a matured Christian? The scripture says that “By their fruit, you will recognize them” (Matt. 7:20 NIV).

A young tree will not bear fruit. Only the matured ones do bear fruit. There are some trees that do not bear fruit. These are to be cut down. Likewise, only mature Christians, not necessarily in physical age, will bear fruit. In the Scripture, a fruit may be souls brought to the Kingdom of God. Also it refers to the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance [self-control] (Gal. 5:22-23 KJV). Like some trees, some Christians don’t bear fruit of souls, or show the fruit of the Holy Spirit. They need to mature some more. How? Read the Bible everyday, attend Sunday school, Bible studies, fellowships, and other Christian gatherings, and by then, have an spiritual relationship with God. This is hard work. Notably, there is absolutely no spiritual short-cut. And this spiritual struggle is for a lifetime.

In life, notice that every man successful or abundant in material wealth, except a few who are fortunate to be born with silver platter or with rich parents, had worked hard—very hard. There is no easy road to material success.

The richer a person, the more humble he becomes in action and in words.

The son of Henry Ford, the manufacturer of Ford vehicles, was asked why he drives a Ford sports car while his rich father drives only the original T-Ford car. He answered, “Because my father is rich”.

I had a very rich client, a doctor of medicine but chose to manage their own family business consisting mostly of prime real estate in Davao City Poblacion. Their family owns, among other vast properties in Davao City, a 40-hectare golf club where the new SM Mega Mall and the Toyota car complex are located, and a new hospital is being built. Their family donated the 10-hectare City Hall Complex at Panabo City. There is a kilometer avenue named after their father, the donation documents to the City of Davao I had the privilege to make and notarize. All the sand and gravel used in constructing my office building was supplied by their Sand and Gravel business. His favorite office attire is a white T-shirt without collar. If one does not know him and he is not seated in his office desk, he would be mistaken for a janitor. His car was an old Volkswagen. In his conversations, he was humble and amiable, and he was very generous. To my recollection, he was never interviewed in TV or radio.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the richest of all rich, but he was very humble. The Bible says: “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:5-10 NLT).

Thanks God for his love for man, like the Good father that he is, he provided an easy way for His faithful children (Christians) to travel along the rough road toward the narrow gate of heaven, by sending His only begotten Son to be the believer’s substitute and savior. He provided an easy way for believers to enter heaven by simply believing in his only begotten Son. Apostle Paul elaborated: “For it is by grace (unmerited favor) you have been saved, through faith – (believing) and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV). Only believe till our last breath. Such “believing” must be supported by action, not in words only. We have a Father in heaven rich in mercy and loving beyond compare, awaiting our arrival. (FGBMFI Davao City Bulletin March 17, 2012)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lover or Persecutor or Prosecutor?

If there is one thing believers in Jesus Christ should be known for, it is LOVE. Someone was able to count that the word love appears in Scripture more than 500 times. The essence or theme or heart of the gospel is love. We read this in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world…”. The epistle of John further elaborates: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16 NIV). This is the ultimate expression of real, true and sacrificial love. Only Jesus Christ has this kind of love. He voluntarily gave up and offered his life in the cross of calvary so we shall live and be with him in heaven eternally in fellowship. He is the greatest lover of all. And all Christians are to be Christlike. We can’t be exactly like Christ, but we can imitate his virtue of love and his character.

Christians or followers of Jesus Christ are to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13); “for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Galatians 5:14 KJV); live a life of love as the Scripture says: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear Children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2 KJV). John further said: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18 KJV).

So, if Jesus and His followers are all about love, why do some people who profess to be Christians hate us? Why are there persecuted believers or believer-persecutors in the world today? Are the persecutors lacking in love for their fellow believers? Yes, of course.

What awaits the persecuted? “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:11 KJV); “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 KJV). Jesus further sermonized, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile (or insult) you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12 KJV). So the promised blessing or reward will be ours to receive, we must be persecuted for righteousness sake and the evil things alluded to us must be false.

On the other hand, what is the appropriate sermon to the persecutors?

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:1-5 NIV).

Who do we want to be, lovers or persecutors or simply prosecutors?

There is a distinction between persecutor and prosecutor. The persecutor is the subject of this article; while the prosecutor is doing something as an assigned task or duty. In Tagalog, “TRABAHO lamang”. In this latter instance, the prosecutor does not hate the prosecuted. There is nothing wrong in working as Prosecutor.

The Chief Justice Renato Corona impeachment proceedings is the best example. Someone is being persecuted or only being prosecuted. Someone is persecuting or prosecuting only, that is to say, “trabaho lamang”. The true Christian who has the discerning of the Holy Spirit can identify these participants. He can even discern the power behind the prosecution or persecution, and the reason behind the whole proceedings. “Actions speak louder than words”, so men say. The Lord Jesus puts it more accurately: “for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45 KJV). Try to observe how the Senator-Judges act and speak. However, the material and relevant ISSUE is: Is the persecution for righteousness sake and is the evil or thing being charged false? Or are there other agenda of the Prosecutors? Or is there only a prosecution? The answers are found in the aforecited words of Jesus Christ. “Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan huwag magagalit.”

Jesus said to his disciples, and true Christians are his disciples, “Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20). Jesus is the Light. When He walked this earth, people hated Him because He exposed the darkness of their sin. True Christians are now His light in this world (Matthew 5:14); therefore, the world will also hate the true Christians (John 15:19) because they are the ones who expose the sins of the worldly people - - those who pretend they are sinless and righteous.

Our task as true followers of Jesus Christ is to be channels of God’s love and light, even if we are hated in return. It is written: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (Jesus Christ, John 15:18 KJV).

Love in return for love is natural, but love in return for hate or persecution is supernatural and Christlike. For those prosecuted, if found guilty, there is a prescribed penalty; if innocent, they are entitled to acquittal. As true Christians, let us pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, let thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven …”

In this valley of tears and joy, some will hate us, some will love and appreciate us; some will flatter us. Beware of and pray for wisdom to discern the “flatterer”. Let us look above, trust God and let us do the right. Better be a lover than a persecutor or prosecutor for selfish reason and be rewarded a place in heaven with Jesus Christ.

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin March 10, 2012)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Give Love and You Will Receive ...

Love is the most important virtue in life. This is the attribute of God.

We who have been found by God because of his love for us have found the greatest virtue in life. When you have God in your heart, you have love, because God is love (1 John 4:8).

The greatest thing we can give others is love - - to show them love. This love is shown in our prayers, care, help and giving whether big or small, to the one in need - - to our neighbor. It is a truism that “you can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving”. The Apostle John expressed this more accurately and vividly this way: “We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help - - how can God’s love be in that person? … “let us really show it by our actions.” (1 John 3:16-18 NLT).

Real love is an action, not only a feeling. It produces selfless sacrificial giving. The greatest act of love is giving oneself for others. How? By serving others with no thought of receiving anything in return.

In John 15, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And this is how to measure it - - the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends” (vs. 12-13 NLT). Then, the Lord Jesus added: “You are my friends if you obey me” (vs. 14).

It is a command that we are to love each other as Jesus loved us, and he loved us enough to give his life for us. Of course, to show our love for our neighbor, we do not have to really die for them. This is too great and too big a “ministry” reserved only for Jesus Christ. But there are other ways to practice sacrificial love like: listening and then helping, encouraging and giving to our neighbor.

The story of the Good Samaritan related by our Lord Jesus Christ is the best example of a love in action. Upon seeing the Jewish man robbed and left half-dead as he passed by, he felt deep pity. In Jewish tradition, because of racial reason, Jews and Samaritans refrain from dealing with each other. However, in this particular instance, the Samaritan traveler “soothed his (Jewish victim) wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. When he left the inn, he gave the innkeeper two pieces of silver and told him to take care of the man.” “If you spend more, I’ll pay you back the next time I come here again” said the Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).

Here, the Good Samaritan disregarded tradition and racial differences. He became no respecter of persons, like the Lord Jesus Christ. And he spent his own money and was willing to spend some more, if need be. Notice the connection of love for neighbor and money.

The year before last, our Chairman in the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB-XI) led the Board members to a tour of Region XI to determine first hand whether the minimum wage the Board had fixed in Region XI was enough. In Kapalong, Davao del Norte, which happens to be my home town, he interviewed a housewife whose husband was accidentally shot in the banana plantation where he was working. He did not die but could no longer perform his usual work temporarily, so she had to make “puto” for their family’s support and livelihood. As she related her sacrifices to earn for her family’s support, she was crying because the kitchenware she was using was allegedly already unserviceable. Our Chairman asked her how much was the cost of the utensil. She said P1,500.00 and added, “but I have no money to buy”. Whereupon, the Chairman took off his hat, dropped a P500.00 bill and passed the hat to the other six members of the Board. Everyone dropped a P100 bill until at last the hat reached me, as I was the last to give. I had no other money in my wallet except a P500.00 bill but I did not like to pick up P400.00 bills from the hat so I could give only P100.00. So, somewhat grudgingly, I dropped the P500.00 bill. When the hat was handed to the housewife, she counted the money and it was exactly P1,500.00! She cried some more and louder this time, but she forgot to thank us and God, at least at that very moment. She was just like the nine lepers out of ten who were healed by the Lord Jesus Christ and forgot to thank Jesus.

Our Regional Director not long after was recalled to Manila and promoted as Labor Attaché in Australia up to this day. All the other members of the Board remain in status quo. The moral lesson is when you give voluntarily without expecting the recipient to reciprocate, you will receive even more and in good measure. Praise God for our Regional Director who was promoted. His pay and allowances are in Australian dollar which is even more than the US dollar in value. Do you notice again the connection of love for neighbor and money?

Next, we visited the 140-hectare Mercado banana farm in Luna, Kapalong, Davao. The board members requested me to tell our Chairman not to make any interview personally anymore, inasmuch as if someone cries again, we no longer have money to give. The Chairman laughed and he complied. As there were plenty of durian fruits, we helped ourselves to our complete over-satisfaction. To my observation and recollection, no one of us ever thanked the farm in-charge. We are also like the nine unthankful lepers, because of too much durian served upon us. Too much excitement will make us forget to be thankful. Notice again that seven durian fruits cost money!

God voluntarily gave his only begotten Son without our asking because of his love for man. The result is that God will have plenty of sons – all those who will accept and believe Jesus Christ as his Son (John 3:16). Notice here that the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed (purchased) mankind with his precious blood - - beyond the value of money! This is the kind of giving in love of our God. No one can outgive God!

The Lord Jesus Christ said: “If you give, you will receive, your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you” (Luke 6:38 NLT). So, let us keep on giving in love … and we shall receive in return in full measure, not only material and physical but more importantly, spiritual blessings. (FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, March 3, 2012)