Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Most Important And Greatest Job In The World

What is the most important and greatest job in the world? – To tell others about God’s love and to show them the love of Jesus (God in person).
Jesus was loving, kind, sympathetic, patient, and forgiving, always leading and feeding and encouraging and strengthening the Spirit of His disciples and other followers. He was the greatest of all examples of love, compassion, humility, kindness, patience, mercy and forgiveness that no human being in the past, present and future can equal. This is best illustrated in the following actual happening and true story related in the gospel as written by the Apostle John:
As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-11 NLT)

The Bible tells us, “And if any man sin, we have an advocate (lawyer in our modern language) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 KJV). As an advocate, he wins all his cases, for he died on the cross on behalf of his clients and took to himself the penalty for their sins. No human lawyer can equal him as an advocate dying for the crime (or sin) committed by his client.

In the above related story, not parable, here was a woman accused of committing a crime which under the Law of Moses, was punishable by death by stoning including the man (Lev. 20:10, Deut. 22:22). Notably, however, the accusers also “violated the Law of Moses” by not bringing and accusing also the man before Jesus, although the woman was definitely guilty because she was “caught in the act”. But disregarding technicality, because of his love, compassion and mercy to the sinner, but not violating the Law as given through Moses, Jesus said “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. Since “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), no one cast any stone, and being conscience–stricken, one by one beginning from the oldest to the youngest went away, until the woman and the Lord Jesus were the only ones left. The Lord Jesus forgave the woman but significantly said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He did not condemn but forgave although he did not also condone the sin. What a beautiful solution to a very difficult problem! Jesus was a problem-solver to the satisfaction of all concerned. That is why human lawyers should not be condemned for lawyering for the guilty criminals if in the process they do not violate the law just like what Jesus did. They are just helping solve a problem which is their job as advocate.

There are a lot of other people who need to know Jesus and his extraordinary virtues. After declaring that “all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” he gave the so-called Great Commission to his disciples which include all his followers and believers, as follows:

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 2819-20 NIV)

We can “teach” by example in our way of life, not necessarily by actually “lecturing” to people personally, or we can write ecclesiastical articles in our Saturday Bulletin, if God has endowed us with the gift of writing like the Apostle Paul who authored 13 books of the New Testament and the other Gospel writers. In this modern age of advance technology of internet, website and blogs, in an instant, a writing can be read all over the world. These are, in a manner of speaking, also part fulfillment of the Great Commission--the believers’ most important and greatest job to do. And we can do this without resigning from or abandoning our chosen profession or career, or vocation or business endeavor. We can do it “on the job” as opportunity arises as we do our business, or as already said above, in our way of life.

Speaking of “gift” which basically means spiritual gifts like the “ability gifts” enumerated in Romans 12:4-8 (prophecy, ministry, teaching, preaching, or exhortation, giving [benevolence] rulership or leadership). Also the gifts spoken of in Eph. 4:11 like apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Likewise the spiritual gifts mentioned in 1Cor. 12:4-11 like word of wisdom; gifts of healing; the working of miracles; prophecy; discerning of spirits; diverse kinds of tongues; interpretation of tongues. Each believer has at least a gift and that should be used to serve others and the kingdom of God faithfully. And “if anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God” (1 Peter 4:10). And above all, to be effective servant of God, “He should walk his talk”.

The Good News as written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John will show us how Jesus, excellently and beyond measure, performed His mission as Messiah. “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and healing all that were oppressed by the devil; for God was with him and with power: who went about everywhere doing good (Acts 10:38 KJV). The life of the master teacher who examples love and sharing, who came for love of the human soul, and lived in love and died for love of the sinners that we all are, that we might live and love God and our brothers and sisters in eternity. The human soul who is endued with the most wonderful emotion of love will realize how most wonderful to be and live in heaven forever with our God where LOVE is the prevalent mode.

The teachings of the LORD Jesus are the most beautiful, inspired, instructive and encouraging part of the Bible. He was very loving, kind, gentle, tender, compassionate, gracious, merciful and a peacemaker; He did not force anyone to believe on Him or to love Him. He wants all acts done on voluntary basis (Rev. 22:17). He wants our acts of love, benevolence and worship to be done on “whosoever will” basis (Rev. 22:17).

Nothing is more important to God the Father and so with His only begotten Son, than the immortal souls of men, the last and highest and very special and perfect creation who created man, in His own words, “after our image, after our likeness", on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26). He sacrificed His only begotten Son to save souls of men by the latter’s shedding his own precious blood in the cross of Calvary inasmuch as he has decreed that “without shedding of blood there is no remission or forgiveness of sin” (Heb. 9:22).

The souls that we win to Jesus will be our “brothers” and “sisters” and treasures in heaven, and these will be thankful to us for all eternity because we told them about the love of God and His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and SAVIOR and only way to heaven, the very and most special place prepared and reserved for all true believers.

It is very difficult job to do, but as faithful followers, let us strive to be like Jesus, and when He comes for the second time, or theologically speaking (second coming of the Lord Jesus) we are assured of a mansion in heaven for eternity, enjoying the tree of life as food for all seasons which again He has prepared and reserved for all true believers (Rev. 22: 2&14).

Being adopted children of God, the believer shall enjoy the same rights and privileges of His only begotten Son who is at the right hand of God the Father in heaven interceding for all believers for eternity (Romans 8:34; Psalm 110:1; 1 John 2:1; Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). Under the human laws (particularly in the Philippines) which laws originated from the Romans, then from England and the United States, as is very true in the spiritual world, the adopted children have the same inheritance, rights and privileges as the original or biological children.
Then, shall come to pass what the Bible said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4 KJV).

Join now, today, to do the most important and greatest job in the world. This is the very best in life. Join Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International in your city or locality.

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, October 27, 2012)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Christlike Leadership Qualities

            Some people are endowed by God with leadership qualities. What are some of these basic qualities?

The greatest leader of all times is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. His leadership is beyond compare. Let us dissect some of the outstanding leadership qualities of the Lord Jesus.

Jesus was a problem-solver. Remember that it is written “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble [or problem] (Job 14:1). There is no person on earth who does not have a problem. It could be a big problem or small one, but it is a problem. The number one problem of any human being is how he can attain eternal life (or salvation). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6). How can Jesus help someone to attain eternal life?

The Apostle John said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 KJV). And this is the ABC of salvation: Acknowledge that you are a sinner, and that you cannot save yourself even though how good you believe or assess you are; Believe that only Jesus Christ is your savior; Confess or admit that you are a sinner, and you need Jesus Christ as your only savior.

The number two problem of man is food, shelter, clothing and the other necessities of life. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the things you have need of shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33). The righteousness of God is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:30). “He (God) hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21 KJV).

There are a thousand and more problems of man, but God (Jesus Christ in person) can solve all these problems. So, a person needs only to be connected with Jesus Christ (God in person) to solve these problems of life. “The righteous (or believer) cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17 NIV). “The righteous man (believer) may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; (vs. 19).

The Lord Jesus Christ was knowledgeable of the canonized Scriptures. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The greatest book on earth is the Bible. It has outsold every book. It is the Book of God. Whatever this book says, goes, and it will surely and inevitably come to pass. “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the earth, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18 KJV), said the Lord Jesus.

When the devil tempted Jesus, he quoted scriptures in answer (Luke 4:4, 8 and 12). The Word of God is powerful. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12 KJV).

The Word of God will build our faith in God. “So then faith cometh by hearing (or reading), and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17 KJV).

The Lord Jesus was full of wisdom. Wisdom is knowing or discerning between good and bad, and doing what is right. This was what Solomon asked of God when he assumed the Kingship of Israel at the very young age of 20, and God gave him what he asked, with bonus of a “large and understanding heart, riches and honor and long life, if you will walk in my ways, as your father David did walk” (1 Kings 3:9-14).

Jesus never hurried. “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for him:” (Psalm 37:7).

Impatience is costly. It cost King Saul his Kingdom which was given to David who was patient and courageous. We are living in an impatient generation. That is why we have fast foods, microwave ovens which will cook our food in a few seconds, instant coffee, etc.

Our greatest mistakes will happen because of impatience. We are always in a hurry. Accidents happen because of impatience. DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo met an accident because he was too in a hurry to go home. Great businesses do not happen overnight. The successful professional in terms of clientele and income do not happen overnight. Life is a marathon, not a 100-meter dash. Jesus refused to be rushed by the emergencies of others. Here is a vivid example.

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
(John 11:1-6, 21, 23, 43, 44)

Despite his love for his three very close friends, he did not rush to answer the call.

Skilled negotiators teach that waiting is an excellent weapon. Whoever is the most hurried and impatient usually ends up with the worst end of the deal. So, let us be Christlike, let us not hurry.

Successful leaders are patient, meek and humble. Moses was one, as the Bible says, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3) yet the Bible describes him “Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of the Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people” (Exodus 11:3). For forty years he was trained in the Egyptian palace. Having killed an Egyptian soldier in defense of a Hebrew citizen (defense of a stranger in our modern legal language) he was forced to leave Egypt and live in the wilderness for 40 years until God personally commissioned him to liberate the Hebrew people who were slaves in Egypt. He was 80 years old when he assumed the office of Liberator of the Hebrew people. He led the Hebrew people for 40 years.

Jesus constantly consulted his heavenly Father. “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Prov. 11:14). In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus cried, “O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). Jesus was prayerful and always consulting his Father.

Jesus was very brilliant, even more than a genius. No one could surpass him in brilliance and wisdom. He discussed sensibly with the doctors of laws even while he was yet a child, only 12 years old. But he was and remained humble.

Jesus delegated. Delegation is simply giving others necessary instructions and motivation to complete a particular task. The father-in-law of Moses told him to delegate, and Moses did (Exodus 18:17-26). Moses is one of the greatest leaders of old times, and he did not wear out but lived until the age of 120 years.

Jesus told his disciples to organize the multitude when he gave the loaves and fishes for distribution (Matt. 14:19). He sent his disciples to get a donkey (Matt. 21:2). He sent his disciples into cities to prepare for special meals (Mark 14:12-15). He did not do minor things which are time-consuming and which can be done by somebody else he can trust. Let us learn to delegate, so we will not wear out in our work, especially in our kingdom ministry.

Jesus offered incentives, or gave rewards. A successful leader reward those who help him succeed. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12).

David asked what rewards would come to him if he killed the giant Goliath. He was told he would never have to pay taxes to the kingdom again, and he would be able to marry the king’s daughter. He took five stones and killed the giant. He had motivation and an incentive.

During my term as President of our Chapter, I offered incentives of the best Bible available in Davao city as prize to the member who would be able to invite the most visitors and who will become members of our Chapter. Praise God for those fortunate recipients. By God’s grace I see them faithful in attending our fellowship. At the beginning of the term of President Jun Basalo, he gave an incentive of a 12K gold ring instead of a Bible. And it worked as shown by the increased number of our chapter’s membership. Engr. Eder Bacus won the prize. Praise God and to God be the glory for Engr. Bacus.

There are other qualities of leadership of Jesus Christ, but time and space would not allow me to expose them. The above-mentioned leadership qualities are enough for now.

This election day, may we be guided accordingly in choosing our leaders for this coming year 2013. God bless. To God be the glory.

In summary, a good religious leader is one meek, humble and matured in training like Moses, knowledgeable and skillful in the Word of God, approximating the Lord Jesus Christ only in a manner of speaking; full of wisdom and with a large and understanding heart like King Solomon; courageous like King David; with much patience like Job.
(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, October 20, 2012)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sanctification, Self-Sacrifice And Self-Control

            Both Old and New Testaments (The Holy Bible) talk about sanctification, sanctified, sanctifies, sanctify, which theological terms simply means “to cleanse or set apart for sacred use; to declare or make holy”. For example, “the Tabernacle (the place of worship of the Israelites in the wilderness during their escape from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan) shall be sanctified by my glory (Exodus 29:43). Then God said to Moses referring to the things to be used in the Tabernacle, “and thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy; whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy” (Exodus 30:29 KJV).

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul said, “God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God. He made us pure and Holy, and he gave himself to purchase our freedom. As the Scriptures say, the person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord (Jesus) has done.” (1Cor.1:30 NLT). Theologically speaking, our spiritual union and identification with Christ results in our having God’s wisdom (Col. 2:31),  being acceptable to God (2 Cor. 5:21), being pure (1 Thes. 4:3-7) and having the penalty of sins paid by Jesus through the shedding of his precious blood in the cross of Calvary (Mark 10:45). Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission or forgiveness of sin (Heb. 9:22).

If the soul is to be purified and ennobled and made fit for the heavenly courts, there are three lessons to be learned – sanctification (set apart for sacred use), self-sacrifice as exemplified by Jesus  who for the salvation of our soul, voluntarily gave up himself to be crucified in our instead as wages or payment for our sins, and self-control (our human nature drives us to do or say it but by the power of the Holy Spirit we desist from doing or saying it) which is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).  Some learn these important lessons more easily than do others, for they are exercised by the simple discipline the Lord gives them in gentleness and love.  Others require the slow discipline of suffering, that the cleansing fire may purify their hearts of pride and self-reliance, of earthly passion and self-love (in one word selfishness), that the true gold of character may appear, and that they may become victors through the grace (underserved favor) of Jesus Christ. 

The love of God will strengthen our soul, and through the virtue of the merits of the blood of Christ we may stand unscathed amid the fire of temptations and trials; which abound in this valley of tears and joy, as it is written, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Jesus was born of a woman, so he had plenty of troubles culminating in the cross of Calvary on our behalf. Indeed, more serious troubles than ours. But thanks be to God, for he also said, “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous (believer), and his ears are open unto their cry (Psalm 34:14); The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delibereth them out of all their troubles (vs. 17); Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all” (vs. 34:19).

Most of our troubles, like sickness, shelter, food, clothing, and all other comforts in life like owning cars, TV sets, cellphones, etc., could be solved with money.

Wise King Solomon, in his old age after gaining vast experience in life, said: “A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things” (Eccl. 10:19 KJV). Yes, except salvation of our soul which cannot be bought with money. It is absolutely free! Only believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and only Savior and accept or receive Him in your heart. In this sense, rich and poor, man or woman, children or adult, white, yellow, brown or black people are equal.

No other help can avail to save us from eternal suffering in hell but Christ and Christ alone, our righteousness, who is made unto us wisdom and sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). 

True sanctification (or belonging to God) is nothing but to love God with all the heart, to walk blameless in His commandments and ordinances.  If we don’t love God, in the first place, who has loved us first (1 John 4:19), we will be looking for someone else other than God, because man having been created by God with the sweetest and most wonderful emotion of LOVE, will surely look for someone to love who also will reciprocate. Solomon, a wise lover, said, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it…” (Song of Solomon, 8:7 KJV). In Cebuano dialect mixed with Spanish, (“Mapunggan pa nimo ang bahâ nunca ang gugma”).

But then the Bible also tells us, “as it is written there is none righteous, no not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10-12; Psalm 14:2 KJV). That is why no one can boast that he is truly good and deserves to be in heaven. Only through believing with all earnestness and sincerity and accepting Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, as his LORD and SAVIOR in the heart can one be saved and enter heaven. Thus, the personal assurance of Jesus Christ is, “I am the way, the truth and the Life; no one cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6 KJV). One must believe this as ABSOLUTE truth to be saved and be with God in His kingdom. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 KJV). So, don’t look for ANOTHER way or PERSONALITY in heaven or on earth, for that is futile. You are just wasting your time and effort.

Sanctification is not an emotion, but a heaven-born principle or doctrine that brings all the passions and desires under the control of the Spirit of God;  and this work is done only through and by Jesus Christ our Lord and only Savior. As above stated, no one else can do this for us, and one must believe and accept in his heart Jesus Christ as his only Lord and Savior.

Spurious or fake sanctification does not glorify God, but leads those who claim it to exalt and glorify themselves. 

When the grace of Christ is implanted in the soul by the Holy Spirit, the possessor will become humble in spirit and will seek for the company of those whose conversation or manner is upon heavenly things, or are earnestly seeking God. These people, most of them by the way, are found in churches or fellowships or gatherings of believers. Praise God for the faithful members of our fellowship, they are these fortunate sanctified ones. Then the Spirit will take the things of Christ and show them unto us, and will glorify, not the receiver, but the Giver, our only true God (in person Jesus Christ).  If, therefore, we have the sacred peace of Christ in our heart, our lips will be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God (Jesus in person). Always being thankful to God, the GIVER of all things either good or bad for the moment, (Eph. 5:20), remembering that “in all things God will work for our (believer’s) own good” (Rom. 8:28).  Our prayers, the discharge of our duty, our benevolence or philantrophic attitude and utterances, our self-denial or self-sacrifice (attending to, or satisfying first, the needs of others before our own personal needs), will not be the theme or center of our thought or conversation, but we will instead magnify Him (God, Jesus in person) who gave all things and Himself for us when we were yet a sinner. As we praise Him in our heart and not only in our lips, we will have a precious blessing and blessing upon blessing in everything, and all the praise and glory for that which is done through our instrumentality as channels of blessing to others, without expecting any material thing in return, will be given back to God, the GIVER of all things in heaven and in earth (2 Cor. 9:8-15). The joy in our heart for being an instrument and a channel of blessing both material or physical shall be unspeakable - - beyond description in words. Praise be to God!

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulleting October 13, 2012) 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Rich Man But A Fool

The Lord Jesus Christ is the best teacher of all times. He always use simple words. His hearers do not have to look for a Webster dictionary or a Thesaurus to understand his teaching. To further clarify and to visibly demonstrate the spiritual truths that he wants to impart to his hearers, he would refer to the lilies in the field and the birds in the air, etc. as natural visual aids, or relate a parable, which is an earthly story with spiritual meaning. For example, in Luke 12:16-21, he related the parable of the rich fool.
The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, this will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
                This man had abundantly received everything from God, “For he maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just or unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Stated differently, the showers of heaven fall on the evil and the good alike. The Lord had caused vegetation to flourish, and his farm yielded superabundant harvest.

The rich man was in a quandary as to what he should do with all his abundant produce. He had great wealth and regarded himself as favored above others and took credit to himself for his good fortune. Notably, he had obtained his riches, not by gambling, or by graft and corruption as he was not a public official, not by taking advantage of another’s misfortune who had been involved in financial crisis for one reason or another and who was obliged to sell his lands and other properties below cost; but his wealth had been obtained through the providence of God in causing his land to yield abundantly. In short, he gained his riches without employing dishonest means or schemes.

But the man revealed his selfishness, as evidenced by so many “I” and “my” in his personal plans about what to do with his riches.

It is obvious that he did not think of God, the great provider of all his blessings, in his plans. Had he done so, he would have first of all, offered up thanksgiving and bowed down before God, saying, “I praise you LORD, please direct and guide me how to use the riches you have abundantly bestowed upon me for your greater glory and honor”.

How many hungry brethren could have been fed; how many naked clothed; how many hearts made glad beyond description in words, and what a melody of praise to God could he have caused to ascend to heaven, and prayer uttered for him by those he could have helped, if he was not that selfish – all plans only for himself and no one else. Had he done the reverse, with his superabundant extra income, he could have fed the hungry; clothed the naked and helped the poor and needy (the ones in need are not necessarily poor) so that many of those he could have helped prayed for him for the exceeding grace of God for his “material gift” so he will be continuously blessed more and more, materially, physically and spiritually. (2 Corinthians 9:14-15).

Going back to what I said “the needy are not necessarily poor”, let me demonstrate this truth by reproducing, to be accurate, the parable of the Good Samaritan, related by the Lord Jesus Christ:

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee” (Luke 10:30-35 KJV).
               In this parable, it is obvious that the victim was not poor because he was precisely robbed. No one will rob a poor man! In his condition, the victim needed help “to survive” so to speak. In that sense, he was a needy person. The Good Samaritan, had to administer first aid, sacrificed by letting him ride on his donkey and brought him to an inn (hotel of modern day), and by taking care of him, thus spending his own hard-earned money (he used to work hard and perhaps oftentimes render overtime, so he will have extra income). And to further demonstrate his love and concern, and kindness and willingness to sacrifice for the victim beyond measure, he told the innkeeper-Manager, “take care of him, and whatsoever you will spend more, when I come again to your hotel, I will repay you.” Translated in Tagalog language, Kung kulang pa ang aking binigay, abunohan mo at sa aking pagbabalik, babayaran kita.”
But this man in the parable of Jesus who was made suddenly rich superabundantly closed the avenues of his soul to the cry of the poor and needy; and in planning to dispose his superabundance of goods he merely considered his personal needs, thus, he thought within himself, saying “What shall “I” do, because “I” have no room where to bestow “my” gifts? This will “I” do: “I” will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there (rather than help the poor and needy) will “I” bestow all “my” fruits and “my” goods. And “I” will say to “my” soul, since thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thy ease (relax), eat, drink, and be merry (Like 12:17-19 KJV). The plan of the man revealed what was in his heart. The Lord Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15 KJV).

Notice the rich man’s selfishness as eloquently evidenced by the numerous “I” and “my” in his plans. And what was the result? God took back his soul that night he was planning, thereby he left behind everything. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matt. 8:36). Obviously, he gained nothing. We do not even know where his soul will go in eternity. But had he acted the Christian way, we can be sure as night follows day, that his soul will rest in eternity in the mansion prepared by Jesus Christ for all his true disciples or believers (John 14:2). His life would not have been shortened. He could have reached the scriptural age of seventy years or even more and made even richer as years were added to his life.

Let us strive to be rich materially and more importantly spiritually, and be generous to the poor and needy. Solomon taught us, “It is the generous man that shall prosper” (Proverbs 11:24-25).

This is the Christian way, the Full Gospel way: to be rich but wise.

(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, October 6, 2012)