December 24, 2014 by AJ Briones
Well, it’s that time of the year again. Here I am, inside a room in our house here in Pasig City, Philippines, thinking about what to write for a Christmas write up for AJ+. It has been a tradition of mine to write something every 24th of the month of December and now that I look back at all the things I have written, those were all so highly of the same theme. Most of those were about Christianity and the opportunity the start the coming year right with Jesus. Well, there’s nothing wrong or odd about that but this year, I want to write something a little different.
About 3 days ago, I visited one of our local Churches in Metro Manila where I used to attend as one of the volunteers. It was just an ordinary day for me thinking that I would not be meeting KC. I came to Church and was not that much ecstatic about it was a usual thing I do when I attend our Church in Mandaluyong City. After the service I went out and passed by my former Bible study group member Janric and so I asked him out for lunch to catch up but just before we were about to leave to look for a place to eat, we happen to see a young man I met previously that was attending that Church. Having compassion upon that young man a few months ago, I decided to sponsor for him his entrance examination fee to a state university where I am currently having my graduate studies. Was not able to communicate with him for quite some time and I was not able to get an update of what happened with the money I gave him for his registration. When he saw me, he approached me and immediately said that he wanted to talk to me so Janric and I decided to set him aside to talk to him. He actually shared a lot and then apologized because he was not able to use to money to register for the exam. He was too late for registrations and due to the condition of not having much; he was forced to use the money to go by living life having something to eat. He was very apologetic. Upon hearing what he had to say, I simply said, “its fine.” I asked him, “Did you use the money for drugs?” he smiled and the said, “No”. I asked him another one, “did you use it for any vice or form of wastefulness?” He said, “No”. The last question I gave him was that if he used the money in a time of dire need and he said, “Yes”. I then told him that we had no problem. What matters was that he was able to put it into good use. I prayed for him and sent him on his way.
After talking to the young man, Janric and I went out to eat and I debriefed him of what had happen.
Having a Church was never about having a regular place to attend with music and cool people. It was never about the pastor on stage or even the script he follows to share the Word of God. It was about relationship and being in the world but not of the world. The message I gave him was very simple and that was that we had to be involved in the lives of people in a positive way. We need not to be the “quick to rebuke” type of people but rather we need to be the “slow to anger” type. We had to be people willing to help, bless and serve other people. The problem is that a lot of us became so contented of attending Church and being there for all the events. We have all become so exclusive to point that even fun runs for a purpose became yearly events to have fun with Church friends and not to really bless the needy. We have transformed ourselves into a charity rather than charitable people. “Just register and you’ve helped a lot.” “Just give and it’s like going out there to help.” “Just support a person using an automatic charge on your credit card and you won’t even feel like you’re actually supporting someone until the bill comes.” – Then we complain because we are billed beyond what you expected. It’s kind of like being desensitized in a quick service world. As one of my childhood favorite bands (Switchfoot) would say, “We were meant to live for so much more, have we lost ourselves?” Well, I can’t decide for everyone or dictate what is right. People would usually answer me with the words calling or convictions. The point is, what are we actually called to do? Yes, go and make disciples but are we not also called to show love and compassion and not just wear something about it or to promote it?
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions (1 John 3:17-18, NLT).
This yuletide season let’s not forget to be charitable people and not just be a part of a quick services, quick ministry, and quick to be quick world.
Merry Christmas everyone!