HAPPILY CONTENTED OR SADLY MEDIOCRE

Many people claim to be happily contented with life. But many of them are simply mediocre who do not wish to give that extra effort.

Which one are you?

Happy contentment is a reward. Mediocrity is a curse.

Happy contentment is a gift to one who has given his all but failed. Mediocrity is a title granted to those who could have given more but didn’t.

Happy contentment is fulfillment in the honest attempt for real success. Mediocrity is satisfaction in the poor effort of trying to attain it.

Happy contentment has no regrets because there is nothing left to do. Mediocrity is filled with it because more could have still been done.

Happy contentment is standing before God exhausted but victorious. Mediocrity is standing before God refreshed but defeated.

For Christians, knowing that we have given our all in loving and serving our God is the measuring rod of our contentment. Not success. Not the praise of men. Not the accolades from others.

At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul was in a state of happy contentment when he said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

If this is our goal for ourselves, then at the end of our lives, we shall surely rest in indescribable peace!

A blessed All Souls and All Saints Days to all of you!

Bobby

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The Secret of Success

Self-help expert Stephen Covey asked his readers: “What one thing could you do in your personal and professional life that, if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your life?”

Different people will have different answers.

As a Christian, my knee-jerk reply is, of course, daily prayer and meditation. But not until this morning did I find the scriptural basis for that.

Psalm 1:2-3 says: “…his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

Whoa! I’ve read this Psalm and pondered on it so many times before and yet I missed it. Yet there it was this morning. Leaping from the page was a multi-million dollar nugget of wisdom. A priceless lesson for all those who desire to prosper in everything he does.

The secret to real success whether in business, or career, or ministry or in family is to be rooted in God’s word and to be immersed in God’s presence. Sure, there will be good and bad times, as in anything. And yes, you will have to do your work, and give your best to it. But at the end of the day, there is one thing that spells the greatest difference in your endeavors: your deep and constant union with God.

“Sure Bob,” you might say. “I knew that all along.”

Yes, but do we do it? Isn’t it the case that sometimes, surfing the internet or reading the newspaper or rushing to meet a deadline or preparing for a talk comes first before we sit still, open our bible and pray? Think about it.

This lesson is truly a secret of success, not because God is hiding it from us, but because we often look at the wrong places.

God’s law has all the secrets to life —- even success!

Being Rich before God

“…This is the lot of those who pile up riches instead of becoming rich before God.” (Luke 12:21)

            I read today’s Gospel in the 12th chapter of Luke about being rich before God, and it got me thinking: What does it really mean to be rich before God?

            Allow me to share with you some of my thoughts on how one can be rich before God…

  1. W – ork for God

People have this notion that only priests, nuns, pastors and missionaries are working for God. The truth of the matter is this: each person, whether holding a religious or a secular job, can work for God. You may be a streetsweeper living in the slums of Payatas or a millionare residing in the mansions ofForbesPark, it doesn’t matter. You see, working for God has nothing to do with your social status or job description but with your heart condition. This “heart condition” is called MOTIVE. You may be a doctor, or a businessman, or a teacher, or a security guard and you can be working for God, for as long as your motive in your daily grind is to honor and glorify God.

  1. E-vangelize.

God has a bias — for the last, the least, and the lost. He loves them. His heart scampers after them. He is busy each day trying to find them, and bless them and win them over. If we want to be rich before God, then we should share this burden with Him. St. Francis ofAssisionce said: “Preach at all times and when necessary, use words.” You need not be a preacher like me to evangelize. You just have to witness God’s love with your life and when the occasion presents itself, speak about it to whoever God sends your way.

  1. A – ccept who you are.

I know of people who wake up each day not liking the person they see in the mirror. Not liking yourself is an affront to God’s creativity. The Psalmist says that we have been “fearfully and wonderfully made by God”. God never makes mistakes. And He made you just the way you are. To be rich before God is to celebrate His creation — yes, including you! Accepting who you are does not mean, though, that you no longer strive to become better. Just like building a house…God gave you the materials that you need. Accept them with joy. Then start using them to build the best house that you can make. Do the same with your life.

  1. L – ive simply. 

Simplicity is bliss. It is the opposite of complicated. It is the reverse of convoluted. It is the exact converse of complex. A simple life is an uncluttered life, free from the non-essentials. Simplicity is being teary-eyed over a beautiful sunset. Simplicity is finding delight in a quiet evening with your spouse. Simplicity is exuding joy as you immerse yourself in daily prayer. Simplicity doesn’t mean not aspiring for great material things. On the contrary, simplicity is aiming for the stars but with feet firmly planted on the ground. Simplicity is finding fulfillment in the things that really matter most in life.

  1. T – rust God at all cost.

It is one thing to trust God. It is another thing to trust God AT ALL COST — when the diagnosis is bad; when the funds are depleted; when your teenager runs away from home; when the husband betrays; when your business fails… Being rich before God is holding on when everything within you says let go. Being rich before God is having faith when you have no more reason to. Being rich before God is believing, not in the certainty of deliverance, but in the faithfulness of the Deliverer.

  1. H – elp until it hurts. 

Helping others comes easy especially to practicing Christians. But helping until it hurts — when it is inconvenient, when it is costly, when it is beyond what is required —- that’s when one becomes truly a millionaire in the eyes of God.

            My friend, what do you think, are you truly WEALTHY in the eyes of God?

Your Deliverer

I am not fond of overhearing conversations, but this one I could not escape from. I was right behind the troubled lady in the check-in counter and the airport personnel behind the counter, while polite, was firm.

“Sorry, ma’am” he said, “you have excess baggage. Either you pay extra or you just have to leave some of your things behind”.

The lady was fidgety, “But I need those things. And the ATM machine is offline. I can’t…” Her voice faded in total resignation. Near tears, she mustered one final appeal, “If I can find someone to take on my luggage for me, will I get to board?”

That was all I needed to hear. I stepped forward from behind her and said, “Ma’am, I only have one hand carry baggage. I can accommodate your excess baggage in my baggage accommodations.”

She turned to me with an incredulous look, perhaps trying to see if I look familiar or if the offer was genuine. I smiled. She gasped, “Really, sir? Will you?”. I turned to the airport personnel, “Place her excess baggage weight on my baggage capacity. Will that be enough?” The airport personnel shrugged his shoulders, “More than enough, sir… Ma’am,” he turned to her, “you may now board the plane.”

*————————————————*

            I remember this experience as I reflected today on the state of my soul. Just like her, I, too, have a lot of excess baggage in my life. With the weight of my sins, I know I will not be allowed to board the plane for the journey to heaven. But just like her, I, too, have a Deliverer. Every time heaven’s doors are about to be shut close before my face, He steps forward and offers to take on my excess baggage. He comes. He rescues. He saves. And with pierced hands he always offers, “Be brave, Child. Let me carry the weight of your sins for you.”

He does it for you, too, my friend.

When cancer knocks on your door…When debts pile up…When relationships turn sour…When the future looks bleak…When the pain becomes unbearable…When tears are about to fall or when they refuse to dry up….All you have to do is turn to Him, your Deliverer.

Scriptures says: “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” (1Peter 2:24)

He can accommodate your burdens, endure your hardships, bear your pains and take on your guilt. And He does that to you now as you read this.

With pierced hands he offers, “Be brave, Child, Let me carry that burden for you!” Go ahead, give it all to Him. He is your Deliverer.

For only with His merits can you freely board the plane.

Detours

The taxi driver took an unexpected turn. He was obviously taking a different route from the one I usually take when I am driving.

I politely inquired, “Manong, mukhang mali yata yung daan natin.”

He gave me a toothless grin and replied, “Mas ok itong daan na ito, sir.”

I wanted to protest but decided against it. I decided to just trust this driver that he knows where he was going. In less than ten minutes, I was amazed to see us emerge in the main highway. I was pleasantly surprised. We got to where we wanted to go more or less 20 minutes earlier than usual.

I uttered, “Galing, manong. Bilis natin ah.”

He smiled, “Sabi sa ‘yo, sir. Shortcut yun e.”

Sometimes, in life, we also find a lot of detours — when things don’t turn out the way we planned them to.

For instance, you may have been planning for a nice retirement when the company you’ve been working in for almost 40 years decided to terminate you on trumped up charges of misconduct. Or you may be expecting your daughter to finally graduate from college when she broke the news to you: she was unexpectedly pregnant with no idea who the father is. Or you may be getting ready for marriage when your fiancee was suddenly diagnosed to have cancer.

Life’s detours, we call them. Also known as “plan breakers”. Might as well call them “back breakers” because they give no warning and break your spirits. They take you off the main highway, and outside of your expected route. They push you out of your routine and force you to re-calculate your figures. They move you back to the drawing board and re-chart your course.

But are life’s detours really that bad?

For men and women whose lives are in God’s hands, life’s detours are ways by which God re-directs us to the right path. Sure, they disrupt your plans. But the fact that God allowed them could only mean one thing: God has a better route for you!

So much like the incident with the taxi driver who took a different route from the one I usually take. Had I not trusted him, I would have insisted that we take my usual route. Good thing I decided to shut my mouth and let him do the driving because, obviously, he knew a better way!

We can say the same thing of God. God is motivated by pure love. And when he allows life’s detours to come upon you, it means that He knows a better way for you towards His wonderful plans for your life. The bible says:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

When we surrender life’s detours in God’s hands, we can be assured that God will use them to get us back on track.

So the next time you are hit with life’s detours, try to trust Him. He surely knows the way!

I remain,

Bobby Q.