When the Seed Grows

“…The seed has grown and become like a small tree, so that the birds of the air shelter in its branches…” (Luke 13:19)

It was in the island of Camiguin where I was giving a retreat last week when I bumped into him in a restaurant.

He joyfully came up to me as soon as our eyes met. Bubbling with excitement, this former officemate of mine shook my hand with much gusto, “Sir, how are you?”. I returned the enthusiasm. It was really good to see Tata, a former officemate and teammate in the basketball team of the office where I used to work.

I remember Tata to be one of the more excellent ball players I have ever seen. A master of the three point shot, he can pile up points on the scoreboard in an instant. Terrific player. 

But what I forgot about him was more important than what I remembered about him. You see, it skipped my mind that he actually read my second book, “Be Not Afraid”, during those times. I remember him telling me how the book helped him especially when he went through those turbulent times in his life.

Now, as we stood there conversing animatedly in one of the restaurants of Camiguin, I felt I was talking to a different man. He looked more joyful and serene. The smile across his face throughout our short exchange negated my memory of the seemingly troubled young man of almost three years ago. I was more pleasantly surprised to learn that he is now an active Christian attending and serving one of the bigger Charismatic prayer meetings in Metro Manila.

When our conversation ended, he shook my hand firmly and uttered, “Ingat sir”. 

I wished we could have talked some more for me to find out his spiritual journey. But I had to leave to go back to the conference that I was leading. Yet believe me when I say that the smiling face and peaceful demeanor of this young man stuck with me throughout that day.  I was convinced that something has changed within him.

I remembered that day when I read today’s gospel wherein Jesus said:      

“…The seed has grown and become like a small tree, so that the birds of the air shelter in its branches…” (Luke 13:19)

I thank God today for Tata and many others who have written to me thanking me for my books. They serve to remind me of the importance of what I do — preaching and writing to bring people to God. I scatter seeds of faith hoping they will fall on fertile ground. Many times, I do not witness their growth. But whenever somebody writes me an email to thank me for my book or when someone approaches to thank me for my talk, I know that I have fulfilled my mandate. I have planted a seed.

Today, I invite you to keep planting seeds of faith in the lives of the people around you. You don’t have to be an evangelistic preacher or author like me to do that. You just have to keep sowing seeds of faith with the way you love, care and serve every person that the good Lord sends your way.

For instance… 

Take time out with your teenage child even if he doesn’t seem to respond…

Reach out to a disgruntled friend even if she will give you the silent treatment…

Serve your husband even if he doesn’t seem to acknowledge…

Do your job well even if the boss doesn’t seem to recognize…

You may not see the growth of what you’ve planted. But God does. And in due time, you shall find inexplainable joy when sometimes life surprises you with chance meetings like the one I had in Camiguin or a letter in your inbox from someone whose life had been changed because of the seed you’ve planted in his or her heart many years back.

Rest assured, in due time, you shall see the wonderful work of the Lord with every seed you’ve planted on good soil. All we have to do it is to do our little part of seed planting, and God will do the rest. 

And you shall rejoice on that day when you witness that your labor had not been in vain…when the seed finally grows!

Sowing everywhere with joy,

Bobby Q.

Going the Extra Mile

“…And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’…” (Luke 10:35)

My high school basketball coach used to tell us that what separates the great players from the good ones is the “extra mile”.

And I guess he is right. If you read the biographies of the great basketball players in the history of the game, the Birds, Jordans and Johnsons had one thing in common: they all went the extra mile.

When the team required them to practice for only eight hours, they stayed around in the gym for an hour more. An extra round in the oval. An extra set of free throws. An extra trip on the treadmill.

They gave a bit more than what was required. More than what was expected. More than what should have been enough. Yes, the extra mile made all the difference.

I guess what is true in basketball can also be true in the Christian life.

Take for instance, the Good Samaritan in today’s gospel.

He helped the wounded man. Nursed his wounds. Bandaged him. Comforted him. But he did more. More than what was expected. More than what was required. He took him on his shoulders, carried him to an inn and paid for his care. Not only that. I am almost sure some appointment was missed that day or a task undone because the Samaritan chose to go out of his way to help. 

How many of us would do the same? Perhaps very few.

Many of us, including myself, are average Christians. Good people. No big sins. We pray. We try to be fair to all. We try to love as best as we could. But many of us stop there. We give within limits. We stay within parameters. We hold back. We stay comfortable.

Today, allow me to challenge you a bit. Go beyond average. Go beyond normal. Go beyond enough. Go the extra mile.

Saints are made of such stuff. They pray extra more. They sacrifice extra more. They give extra more. What is enough is not enough for them.

God is the greatest example of the “extra mile” love.

He wasn’t contented with sending prophets.He became man in the form of His Son.

He wasn’t contented with becoming man. He removed His King’s robe and exchanged it for carpenter’s clothes.

He wasn’t contented with being poor. He even chose to die for us who are poor in Spirit.

He wasn’t contented with dying. He chose to die the most humiliating form of death during His time — death on a cross.

He is Jesus. Our God. Our Savior. Our King. He went the extra mile for you and me.

Shouldn’t we do the same for Him?

I remain, humbled by His love,

Bobby   

P.S. Speaking of “extra miles”, I would like to thank my brothers and sisters in Oman for going the extra mile for me while I gave a week-long retreat for them two weeks ago in Ghala Parish, Muscat. Special thanks to Fr. Albert D’ Silva, the English Prayer Group, Families in Jesus, Couples for Christ and El Shaddai. It was a joy serving all of you!