Once “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit,” we deliberately begin to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests and purposes in others’ lives (Romans 5:5). And Jesus has an interest in every individual person. We have no right in Christian service to be guided by our own interests and desires. In fact, this is one of the greatest tests of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The delight of sacrifice is that I lay down my life for my Friend, Jesus (see John 15:13). I don’t throw my life away, but I willingly and deliberately lay it down for Him and His interests in other people. And I do this for no cause or purpose of my own. Paul spent his life for only one purpose— that he might win people to Jesus Christ. Paul always attracted people to his Lord, but never to himself. He said, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).
When someone thinks that to develop a holy life he must always be alone with God, he is no longer of any use to others. This is like putting himself on a pedestal and isolating himself from the rest of society. Paul was a holy person, but wherever he went Jesus Christ was always allowed to help Himself to his life. Many of us are interested only in our own goals, and Jesus cannot help Himself to our lives. But if we are totally surrendered to Him, we have no goals of our own to serve. Paul said that he knew how to be a “doormat” without resenting it, because the motivation of his life was devotion to Jesus. We tend to be devoted, not to Jesus Christ, but to the things which allow us more spiritual freedom than total surrender to Him would allow. Freedom was not Paul’s motive at all. In fact, he stated, “I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren . . .” (Romans 9:3). Had Paul lost his ability to reason? Not at all! For someone who is in love, this is not an overstatement. And Paul was in love with Jesus Christ.
Be Content About Your Life
Wonder if any of you ever had the feeling that life is bad, real bad… and you wish you were in another situation? Do you find that life seems to make things difficult for you, work sucks, life sucks, everything seems to go wrong?
It was not until yesterday that I totally changed my views about life; after a conversation with one of my friends.
He told me despite taking 2 jobs, and bringing back barely above $1000 per month, he is happy as he is. I wonder how he can be as happy as he is now, considering that he has to skimp his life with the low pay to support a pair of old-age parents, in-laws, wife, 2 daughters and the many bills of a household.
He explained that it was through one incident that he saw in India.
That happened a few years ago when he was really feeling low and was touring India after a major setback. He said that right in front of his very eyes, he saw an Indian mother chopped off her child’s right hand with a chopper. The helplessness in the mother’s eyes, the scream of the pain from the innocent 4 years old child haunted him until today. You may ask why did the mother do so, has the child been naughty, was the child’s hand infected??
No, it was done for two simple words — to beg. The desperate mother deliberately caused the child to be handicapped so that the child can go out to the streets to beg. I cannot accept how this could happen, but it really did, just in another part of the world which I don’t see.
Taken aback by the scene, he dropped a small piece of bread he was eating half-way. And almost instantly, flock of 5 or 6 children swamp towards this small piece of bread which was then covered with sand, robbing of bits from one another. The natural reaction of hunger. Striken by the happenings, he instructed his guide to drive him to the nearest bakery. He arrived at two bakeries and bought every single loaf of bread he found in the bakeries.
The owner is dumb-folded, but willing, sold everything. He spent less than $100 to obtain about 400 loaf of bread (this is less than $0.25/per loaf) and spend another $100 to get daily necessities. Off he went in the truck full of bread into the streets. As he distributed the bread and necessities to the children (mostly handicapped) and a few adults, he received cheers and bows from these unfortunate. For the first time in life he wonder how people can give up their dignity for a loaf of bread which cost less than $0.25. He began to ask himself how fortunate he is as a Singaporean. How fortunate he to be able to have a complete body, have a job, have a family, have the chance to complain what food is nice what isn’t, have the chance to be clothed, have the many things that these people in front of him are deprived of…
Now I begin to think and feel it, too. Was my life really that bad?
Perhaps….no… it should not be bad at all….
What about you? Maybe the next time you think you are, think about the child who lost one hand to beg on the streets.
Story By Wendy Tan
A box of kisses
Some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.
Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.” He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty.
He yelled at her, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside it?”
The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said,”Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.
It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each of us as humans have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, friends, family and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
Mom’s Last Laugh
Consumed by my loss, I didn’t notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend — my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense, I found it hard to breathe at times.
Always supportive, mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father’s death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life.
When mother’s illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it an honor.
“What now, Lord?” I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before meas an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife’s hand.
My sister sat slumped against her husband’s shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone. My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished and I was alone.
I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor. An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears.
He began to sniffle. ”I’m late,” he explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented, “Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of ‘Margaret’?”
“Oh” “Because that was her name, Margaret. Never Mary. No one called her ‘Mary,’ I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn’t have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?
“No, that isn’t correct,” he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, “Her name is Mary, Mary Peters.”
“That isn’t who this is, I replied..”
“Isn’t this the Lutheran church?”
“No, the Lutheran church is across the street.”
“I believe you’re at the wrong funeral, Sir.”
The solemnness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man’s mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter.
I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs.
The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me.He was laughing, too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit.
I imagined mother laughing.
At the final “Amen,” we darted out a door and into the parking lot. “I do believe we’ll be the talk of the town,” he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt’s funeral, asked me out for a cup of coffee.
That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place.
A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time. In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter. In place of loneliness, God gave me love. This past June we celebrated our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, “Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it’s truly a match made in heaven.”