Tag Archives: Call

The Less Is Not The Least

…and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. Luke 21:2

Luke paints a picture of less.

Poor. Widow. Two. Small. Coins.

If that is not a case of lack of something, I don’t know what it is.

Poor is having not much. It is a state of need of enough or of more. Pockets are full of air. Bank account can’t be counted.

Widow is having no company. No hands to hold but yours. No walks with somebody. No dinner with somebody. Sleeping all alone in a cold night.

Two small coins sound like not much in her purse. Even if these metals clash, no sound will be heard from a good distance. If you drop them in a collection box, even the dropper’s ear might miss the fall.

Yet this less is not the least, for Jesus notices it.

How many times you retreated in giving because you have less? How many times you were prevented from helping because you have not much?

Does this sound familiar, “If only I have more money, more time, more resources, more skills then I can give.” Luke’s painting tells us this is a myth.

Even in times of lack, you can give back. For even in times of less, you can bless. Even in times of not much, you can do much. Even if you feel you’re small, you can give your all.

For Jesus, for Luke, for the widow and for you… the less is not the least.

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Boxing God

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6:15

The crowd boxes God with their limited insights.

The crowd wanted to do things on their own route. This crowd has its own plan but this is not God’s plan– force Jesus to be king, a political king. Not king of heaven and earth but a king by their own dictionary. Who does not want to be a king? But Jesus is more than an earthly king, he is Lord and Savior. He is further than a ruler, he came to serve.

You may define him by your bounded understanding. You might expect present proceedings to be the same as past experience but God does not live by fences and property lines. Yes, he is the same God, but don’t limit him because you saw him work in this way.

We boxed God. When we  immigrated, we fixed our eyes that God will work the way he worked in our mission work. We set out to build a prayer group/community the way God has established our group in the past. Obviously, this is our experience so this is our expectation. But God can’t be boxed. He showed us that he can build on a different route. He presented his power in another direction. He utilized us in ways we are not accustomed. He put us in places we’ve never been before, never familiar to us. God showed himself in an un-experienced and unexpected manner.

You can expect that he is the same God. Loving. Faithful. Full of mercy. Forgiving father.

However, don’t expect the same route when following or serving him. He knows various roads going to his kingdom. Don’t limit him. Don’t box him. Don’t force him to your own familiar way.

After all, God’s gifts are not boxed. So is he.

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Tools

Will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it? As if a rod could sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood! Isaiah 10:15

The main difference with tools and servants is this — one can say no, one can’t. The tools sitting at the garage just wait to be picked up for work and use. The servants in the pew has the power to say to the Master, “I’m a sinner, I’m not good.” “Not now.” or “Not me.” The toolbox occupants are always prepared and ready for the action. Servants have always the option, to go or not. There is a choice to be made by the servant if he or she will allow the Creator to create through him or her. If the servant say’s no, the Master may select another servant to do the work.

The main similarity with tools and servants is this — both can’t claim the glory of the work done. Two of my old uncles were carpenters, but they were not the same creators. With this, they may pick up and utilize the same tools but they may not have the same creation. One does an excellent job, one doesn’t.  Thus, the tools can’t grab the limelight of the work. Yes, they are part of the accomplishment, yet, without the expert guiding hands of the Master, the tools will still be siting in that cold box. Their purpose not fulfilled. Their edges not used. Their skills not displayed.

The lesson you may learn from this is this — be a servant who will trample trunks of challenges and at the same time who will not boast against him who hews you. Be a servant who cuts hearts and minds and who doesn’t exalt himself or herself above the hands who wields it. Be a ready and a willing servant for God’s glory.

 

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Economics of Zacchaeus

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”  Luke 19:8

Economics is about incentives.

Companies or persons hand their resources if in return they get incentives or benefits above what they gave.

Knowing that this guy Zacchaeus is the chief tax collector, accounting or economics are his daily life. He looks for financial benefits in every transaction. His eyes scans the numbers and says if it’s a deal or not.

Not today.

Look at his economics.

Before meeting Jesus:

Net Worth = Z (this is his total worth, assets minus liabilities)

Moments after meeting Jesus:

Net Worth = Z – 0.5*Z = 0.5Z (this is his total worth after giving half to the poor)

Further moments after meeting Jesus:

Net Worth = 0.5Z – image002 (this is his total worth after giving back 4 times to what he extorted per person, E, from the number of people he extorted, n)

Zacchaeus threw what he learned all his life about economic benefits out of his window. His financial worth decreased moment after moment after meeting the Christ. Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Luke 19:9) and Zacchaeus, by his economics, replied, “It’s a deal!”.

We don’t know if he came back to his job as the chief tax collector, I bet he resigned! We don’t know if he became a full time follower of Jesus, just like the Twelve, I bet he did in his own small ways! This is what we surely know – his life turned around and he realized it’s not about the money. That life is not about these financial benefits thus he was willing to give almost all he got.

Jesus saved him. And that is an enough incentive.

 

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Receivers

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ Luke 13:26-27

They ate with the Provider of all things and they were filled. Yet, they did not feed the poor and needy.

They drank with him and their thirst was quenched. Yet, they did not share the fountain of life to the people who were looking for the water of life.

They listened to his messages, they heard his preaching. Yet, they did not pass down what they learn. They did not talk about it to their family and friends.

Whatever they receive they did not give. Whatever they had, they kept it to themselves. Everything stopped with them.

I’m guessing one reason for this — they focused mainly on what they received and not on the one who gave what they received. It filled their stomachs but not their hearts. It quenched their physicality but not their spirituality. It passed through their ears but it was not planted into their hearts. They longed for the gift and not the Giver. Only the Giver satisfies, not the gift.

Jesus is the only way through the door of heavenly gates. And when the time comes, may he not give you the same response, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ Luke 13:27

Make sure your answer is not similar with these comfortable receivers.

Build your relationship with the Giver, Jesus. Love him who feeds you. Live for him who gives his cup to you. Follow him who reveals his Word to you daily.

And may all these allow you to be a giver of whatever he gives you, to know him more, to love him more and thus you may make him known more and make him be loved more.

Always remember this — Jesus knows not mere receivers but receivers who become givers.

 

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Catching One Another

Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” John 21:5

Same faces, same names for the past three years.

As a prayer group working to advance the work of the Lord, we have been together for more than three years. We as brothers and sisters aim to spread his love and mercy especially to other people. We have tried to reach out the youth. We have tried our mission to the single working people. We attempted to establish a ministry within a parish. Some will respond but not for long. And at hindsight, we have the same faces, same names after all this work of three years.

As the disciples have experience, we have caught nothing. They threw their nets as we have done. They pulled their nets back to the boat and found no catch, as we have experienced. And yet they still stayed in their boat, as we have stayed in our group. And three years is longer than a night.

If no one is caught, then the Lord has other plans – for us to catch one another. He is teaching us to care, serve and love for the people he has given us to do his work and share his love. He has called us for the meantime to catch one another.

That even though the net is empty, he is giving us grace to strengthen one another by words and actions of love. That even though our toil has no fruits, it seems, we have our relationships with one another as fruits. Maybe a brother is falling, catch him. Maybe a sister feeling down, catch her. Maybe a member has stumbled, reach out to him. God is teaching us to wait upon him as we catch one another.

The picture of catching one another is for any person above you, you must have your hands ready to catch. In other words, no person below will be caught by a person above. You need to be below a person to catch that person. That’s why we need humility to catch one another. We need to be a servant before being a leader. We need to be a brother or a sister before looking at the organization structure.

If you are not catching others, be sure to catch one another.

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The Invited

After he had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. Luke 11:37

Jesus got the invite.

Not from a disciple. Not from a family. Not from a friend. It was from a Pharisee.

A Pharisee, who watches his each and every move and who is quick to judge Jesus’ actions which he considers as mistakes, invited him. He is part of a group who are full of insecurity about Jesus’ being and personality. His eyes look for the bad in every good in Jesus. His heart is filled with anger each time Jesus satisfies the hunger. Jesus’ words come in and come out on the sides of his head, no message is committed and no grace is embedded. If Jesus does this, he says damn. If Jesus does that, he says damn. No action, no words or no miracles is correct in his eyes and in his heart.

Yet, Jesus responds to his invitation. He enters his door and sits on his chair. His feet tread the floor where this Pharisee stands every day. His nose breathes the air inside this house. He sits at his table. He takes food from his plate. He reclines like he is at home. Ha! This is how he responds to the invitation – Jesus is at home.

This is Jesus. This is our Lord. This is the God of heavens and of the earth.

As long as he is invited, he will come. No matter who you are. No matter what you have done or whatever you will do in the next minute or next hour, he will enter your life. As long as you say he is welcome into yours, he will not waste time, he is come. The instant you say the words, “Come to my home, come to my heart.”, he is coming at your doorstep. He is coming into your heart, broken or whole. He is coming into your life, perfect or wrecked. He does not discriminate. Disciple or Pharisee. Tax payer or tax collector. Friend or foe. Close or distant. He just comes when he is invited. He wants your home to be his home.

Issue the invitation. Now.

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