Reflections on how I learn to live life with faith.
When I was still living in Quezon City, I remember a commercial by Nescafe. The commercial asks the question, “Para kanino ka bumabangon?” or in english, “For whom do you wake up for?”. What motivates you to wake up in the morning? What motivates you to open your eyes and live for a new day?
There’s a quote which says “Every gising is a blessing” (Every time you wake up is a blessing). If we live through that quote, do we live a life that is blessed? Every morning we wake up is a privilege denied on others who battle the hardship of waking up through illness. Life is indeed short, and if our lives are like vapour. According to James 4:14:
Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. – James 4:14 ESV
In church today, the pastor asked us, why do we always complain that we do not have enough time to do the things we need and want to do? Everyone at church feel that we do not have enough time. Yet, God is a God who provides. And so, what the pastor made us realise is that, if God provides our food to sustain us each day, and the number of breaths that we take per day; then surely, God also provides us with enough time to sustain us each day. Time, then, is a resource God has blessed us with.
Why do we feel though that we do not have enough time? If our life on earth is like vapour that can quickly vanish, and each day is like the wind that passes and can never come back or be retrieved… then, we have got to make the most out of our time. Just like the provision of talents and blessings from God, these are gifts from God, we should not waste them. Just as time is a gift. And you know what, we do not know when will Jesus come back again for He will come un-announced – we have got to make the most of our lives for Him. If we’re like the tree who did not bear any fruit by the time Jesus arrives, we will be cursed. Even if it is not the season to bear fruit, we have to ensure that we have fruits stored for we will never know when He will come.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. – Mark 11:12-14
The main passage for today’s message comes from Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12 NIV
Our time here on earth is numbered, and borrowed from God. It is a wasted privilege if my life is not used for God. He gave me life, then I should live for Him. As our pastor enumerated all the time-wasters that inhibits us to make use of our time wisely, it is and will always be “procrastination” that tops the list and gives the biggest “ouch”.
Procrastination is the act of delaying something. I have always been an active advocate of helping fundraising events and doing charity works. Last year, I have pitched an idea to my fellow ladies to arrange an outreach for the elders. The idea is to go to an aged care facility, play music, cook food and share the gospel to the elders. I kept waiting for my fellow lady leaders to act on the idea…. until it never transpired. It was either they forgot to do their part, I did not really convince everyone about the cause, or they were never really interested in the first place……. or we all just procrastinated. It was an idea that was put on to waste because a year had passed and it never happened. That was contrary to when I decided to hold my birthday in an aged care facility in Manila, and it happened in a matter of days.
So what am I waiting for? Why should I wait for others? Why couldn’t I just act? Am I fearful that it will not work? Or am I just procrastinating again? If my days are numbered, I will have to act now. For the longer I postpone it because I wanted to make things perfect and smooth — it will never happen.
And so, inspired by conversations with two of my friends, the message at church today, and the Holy Spirit; “The Aid Box” has come to life. The purpose of the cause is to provide an assistance in the form of sending goods, and God’s Word to the poor. The Aid box provides physical and spiritual aid to bless others. The mechanics is simple, when the group identifies a group that needs goods as aid, we will send an announcement about the group and what they need. Then the goods will be collected from those who are willing to give. As we pack, we are going to write God’s Word to each item. Then send the goods, as soon as the aid box becomes full.
Yes, people has done the same initiative before. And actually, The Aid Box is so simple that anyone can do it. There’s no need to join a group or even wait for others to start collecting goods and send it to the needy. But, what sets The Aid Box from others? I have outlined the reasons below:
1. The aim is to prioritise to share the Word of God, every time we send our goods to others as we are commanded to spread His Word. (Matthew 28:19-20; James 2:14-26).
2. The initiative will be kept on a low-key level. We help to share God’s message of love, forgiveness and salvation to everyone — and not to publicise or boast our own works. We will magnify Christ, not our good works. (Matthew 6:1-4; Ephesians 2:8-9).
3. This is an initiative. It is not an organisation or a group. We do not mandate others to share, nor we don’t beg others to give. It is what comes from your heart that matters, and what you can provide to the best of what the Lord has blessed you with 😉 (2 Corinthians 9:7).
… Therefore, we want people to know Christ, and we do not send out the Aid Box because we want to be known, we want to feel good about ourselves, we feel sympathy towards others, or we just wanted to provide physical donations (as private individuals, groups and organisations already do them).
If The Aid Box is not a group, then what is it? The definitions for The Aid Box are outlined:
1. Aid – a bandage on a wound. To provide sustenance, temporarily, to prevent dependency and promote healing. Our goods cannot solve the deep wounds that the receiver experiences, but we hope to provide some sort of relief. However, by pointing every person to Christ, we are able to provide them with a way for healing.
2. Charity – The friendship of man for God, which unites man to God — defined by Thomas Aquinas. We often think of charity is giving donations or aid, however that definition by Aquinas reminds us that it is not the physical thing that is central to charity, but charity is an act of friendship that connects every man for God, and to God.
3. Donate – to make a gift of, especially to contribute to a charitable cause. Each of the things we donate are a gift we are giving someone. Each gift is special. Each donation is special because we willingly give a gift of friendship to others for God.
4. Initiative – the ability to assess and start things independently; the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do. Because the mechanics is simple, there is no need to go around circles nor delay. When there’s an opportunity to give, we have the power to act and start.
I am praying that the initiative is not in vain, and will provide everyone with the opportunity to make the most of sharing their resources to others – physically and spiritually. Pray with me, that what will motivate the people in Aid Box to give is Christ. I am praying that through this simple initiative, we are able to bless others and provide others with the Good News.
Therefore, for whom do I wake up for every morning? As selfish as it may sound, but I wake up for myself. To make sure that each day that I wake up is not a wasted opportunity for me to glorify God. I wake up each day with a reminder that I am alive to make a difference. I am alive to bring people to Christ. I am alive to bear more fruits. I am alive, so make this day count.
This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. – Ephesians 5: 14-17