Friday, March 31, 2006

A confession

I just read Atty Cortes' sermon on "Honoring Christ" over at his blog. It's a very insightful, simple and beautiful essay. It hit me right on the mark. Kung sa Bisaya pa, "Igo kaayo ko!"

So you see, God is in control of our circumstances, no matter how difficult they may be. For all we know God has allowed our circumstances to be what they are because he intends to save souls. Precisely because Paul was a prisoner the gospel reached Rome. And precisely because he was a prisoner he had access to the Praetorian Guard; the case would probably have been otherwise had he been free! Therefore let us not be dismayed by the circumstances God has allowed us to be in. For all we know our very failures, our very difficulties, are the very circumstances God intends to use to lead people to Christ. (Emphasis mine)

I am in such a difficult circumstance right now. For many months now I have been inactive in our Singles For Christ community here in Cebu. I can give many reasons for why I have been absent in all of our major gatherings (cluster, chapter, and weekly prayer meetings, teachings and talks, retreats, and fellowships). I can tell my "bros" and "sis" that I've been busy with a lot of things in school. But the truth is, I could've attended the meetings if I really wanted to. The truth is, I didn't want to.

Prior to being a constant absentee, I was quite active in the community. I attended all the meetings. Being in the community, meeting people, serving, listening to talks, sharing thoughts, problems, and laughter with my "bros" and "sis" truly gave me joy and peace, and certainly strengthened me each day, gave me confidence, supported me in the hardships that life offers. Until bad habit got in the way: laziness, irresponsibility, insincerity, lukewarmness to service, and most of all, pride.

I was assigned to be a household head. I was reluctant at first to accept the responsibility, because I knew it was going to be a big responsibility, because I was going to be taking care of people; that is, I was to be put in charge of looking after the new members of our community, of guiding them and helping facilitate their growth in the Christian life. I was also hesistant because I have a great weakness in dealing with people - I'm not very good with people. I accepted it, eventually, and during the first few weeks and perhaps months all went well. It was challenging, but it was a good experience. However, little by little I became weaker in my service. I was not very sincere with my obligations. Then our prayer meetings became less frequent, until another "bro" who is also a head from another household became concerned; he did not want our households to disintegrate, so he proposed that we merge our households together so that we can become more united and bonded. It worked well. Although we didn't acknowledge it, we had a silent understanding/ agreement that he was now going to be the head of our two households. He's really a very good leader. He has his way with people. He's very humble, and he can easily make people at ease with him. We in the community really see that he's serious and very dedicated to the community. Around that time I enrolled in nursing. It was then that I started missing our weekly meetings. My classes would usually end up at around 7 in the evening, and they would usually fall on the night of our prayer meetings. If I was not absent, I was late. It became a habit. I started not taking my service seriously; I became less and less dependable. Later my "bro", the one I was talking about, and her girlfriend, who is also our "sis" in the community, got a job in Manila, so they had to transfer there. During our last prayer meeting together my "bro" announced that he was assigning another member of his household to be our new head. That really hurt me; that is, it really injured my pride. I felt bad and offended about his decision, although, deep inside me, I know that the "bro" he's appointing to replace him is truly more qualified and capable than me, and he is indeed dedicated and zealous with his service, whereas I, am the opposite.

I accepted what happened for a while, but I couldn't help feeling hurt about it. I nurtured the hurt inside me. Later I learned that before my "bro" left for Manila he had a "despedida" party at his house with most if not all of the members in our chapter. I didn't know it, I wasn't invited. This injured my very high pride even more, and so steadily I distanced myself from the community. That prayer meeting was the last one I attended, and it was 3 months or so ago.

To make things uglier, I became more envious about his great fortune (landing a good job in Manila). That despite the knowledge that those are God's blessings to him for his faithfulness to his service. I know it's very wrong to feel envious, but I can't help feeling that way. That reveals something truly ugly about my character.

Anyway, I now realize that the Lord may have a reason why He has allowed me to be where I am now.

Besides, the Lord knows best: it is possible that by humbling you and laying you aside he intends to accomplish much more than you ever dreamed of.

Or He may only want to teach me a lesson in humility, because that is one of my greatest weakness.

For the same reason he was beyond envy, for what mattered to him was not his personal influence or honor, but the honor of Jesus Christ. In the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, I must decrease.” There is no room for envy in the ministry. The ministry is not about competition; it is not about self-exaltation. It is about glorifying the Savior. Sometimes the Lord allows us to be humbled while others are honored. Nevertheless we will rejoice, for the ministry is not about this servant or that servant – the ministry is about the glory of Christ and his glory alone.

That has been my problem mostly. It's not about the people in the ministry. It's Who the ministry seeks to serve and honor and glorify. It has never been about the personalities in the ministry.

I am really hoping of going back to SFC. It has really been a source of strength for me (perhaps that's a very selfish motive). The Christian life, as we have been taught, can be likened to a wheel. The hub of the wheel is Christ, because He is at the center and therefore He acts as the 'foundation' of the wheel. The wheel has four spokes, namely, Prayer, Study, Fellowship, and Service, and these are the pillars of the wheel. The road signify life, with its rough and smooth surfaces. Without the spokes the wheel easily breaks or is crushed. When one or two spokes are missing, the wheel is damaged and it can't function properly. Same with Christian life, even if the two pillars of Prayer and Study are present, but you don't belong to a Christian community, meaning you don't have Service and Fellowship, you can easily be weakened in your faith; you are easily defeated by the trials in life. I want to go back to the community but I'm struggling with my fears and my pride.


Ggraph said...

It seems from your statements you have learned what has been amiss with you. The lesson is to put this knowledge to use to grow yourself into the place you wish to be in. Good luck,my friend. May the peace of the Lord be with you.

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