The Rocks, and the Trees; the Birds and the Beasts

(This was my message delivered to the youth on top of Hapao, Banaue, Ifugao during the Adventrek Divine Worship Service. Italicized words are in Filipino.)

I find it funny how the internet has brought the world in our finger tips that even the most uninteresting things like show biz news easily sends waves of uneasiness to the world. Just lately there’s this break up of Robert and Kristen. Sorry but I don’t really know their full names or what movies or TV program they appeared in. In short, I don’t really know them to even care. But I was just amazed at how many people followed this news reports about their break up and how many people were actually troubled at this news. Such are the lives of prominent people. So what lesson can we glean from this?

Nothing.

Kakaiba pero yung mga importanteng kwento ang hindi natin napag-uusapan samantalang ang mga wala naman tayong kinalaman o walang mapapala ay patok. Trending kumbaga.

Lahat na lang pinag-uusapan natin. Maging ang pinakapersonal na bagay sa buhay ng mga taong nakikita natin sa telebisyon. Nanjan yung mabahong paa ng ganitong matinee idol o kaya kung sinong bumibisita sa bahay ng isang sikat na actress. Madalas mabilis pa sa alas kwatro tayo kung makikibalita sa mga ganitong uri ng kwento.

For one thing, instead of bothering about what this actor or this politician did in their lives, why don’t you take time to talk to the person beside you? Ask about their lives? Politicians don’t even care about you, so why not talk about people who have that potential to care about your life? So since nagdadaldalan na rin lang kayo ng pabulong, here’s a short activity, why not ask the person beside you one question about their life? Just one why question.

Now, subukan kaya nating makipag-usap sa mga hayop o kaya sa mga puno. Baka mas may matututunan pa tayo doon.

“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.” – Job 12:7-8

See? The animals, the fowls of the air, the fishes of the sea and even the earth will teach us something. And so here we are, in this God kissed place teaching us about nature. So instead of talking about the lives of other people, here are some amazing lessons that you probably already knew or probably have forgotten.

UNITY

Look at the trees. It’s green. It’s leafy. It’s large. Masarap akyatin. Imagine a car bumping into a tree and you’ll be sure that the tree would still be standing and the car would be a wreck. Don’t you know that trees also teach us unity? We may have heard the concepts photosynthesis, chlorophyll, and many others from our science classes way back when. Simply put, the roots take water from the ground, while the leaves get light from the sun to give food to the plant or tree for that matter. These processes don’t happen to trees. They happen to the leaves. Yes, the small and seemingly insignificant leaves are the ones that supply the food to the trees. The whole tree could not survive without leaves. Otherwise they’ll just be hallowed stumps.

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many they form one body. So it is with Christ.”1 Corinthians 12:12

So ang isang puno, kapag tinanggalan mo ng lahat ng dahon. Magugutuman ang puno.  That teaches us that the whole tree is one unit. It is united. Just like us. We may be made up of various backgrounds or belong to various ministries, but if we don’t stick together any effort that we make has a big chance of failure.

PERSEVERANCE

I am going to show you something amazing!

This is THE ROCK!

Kidding aside, there are three types of rocks and all of them teach us a valuable lesson. The first type is called igneous rock. These rocks come from volcanoes. The molten lava cools and solidifies to form this kind of rock. It is usually glassy. The second type of rock is the sedimentary rock. It is formed near rivers or lakes or any body of water. From its name, it is made up of sediments such as sand or pebbles. The sediments gather to the shores where it will eventually pile up until they solidify through time and pressure.  It is usually made up of smaller stones or sand. The third type is called a metamorphic rock. This rock comes from under the ground where it is subject to extreme temperature and pressure. It is the hardest type of rock. It usually looks heavy and packed.

These three rocks teach us to persevere despite any circumstances. We may be faced with fiery trials hotter than molten lava but in the end everything will solidify into its proper place. We may be buffeted by the circumstances in our lives beyond our control, yet in the end we can pick ourselves up and be a solid force. We may be deep under pressure but in the end we become heavy and packed with lessons.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops patience. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  – James 1:2-4

COOPERATION

For all we know, cooperation and unity are not the same but they should exist together. We may be united in achieving one goal but we don’t necessarily cooperate to achieve it. Take for example runners in a race. Runners are united in achieving one goal: the finish line, but you don’t see them carrying each other or sharing drinks or lifting other runners legs to reach the goal.

Carabaos or water buffaloes may look solitary to you but in the wild they are the embodiment of cooperation. One trending video in Youtube showed a very amazing story. A family of three buffaloes was walking along a water shed. They didn’t notice that a pack of lionesses were waiting for them. When the lions launched their attack, the fleeing buffaloes left behind their young. The young was overthrown into the water where a huge crocodile was waiting. The lions tried to get the young buffalo away from the crocodiles. As they were killing the young buffalo, the parents of the buffalo brought the whole herd. They surrounded the lions while the male buffaloes gored and chased each of the lions. Their cooperation freed the young calf.

This same cooperation should be emulated by Christians that no matter how many lions or crocodiles try to snatch away our weakest member, the whole herd is more than ready to chase the predators away.

“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” – Romans 14:1

OBEDIENCE AND TRUST

The whale shark is the largest fish in the world. Of course some of you may have seen them or had the chance to swim with them in Donsol. At 41.5 ft and 21.5 tonnes, this fish is the largest and heaviest creature in our country. Yet despite its size, it is the kindest and most docile creatures. Some younger whale sharks are even so playful that they play with divers. Of course, getting close to the creatures has been banned in our diving sites.

Docile meant that it is easily taught or led. This means that they are so friendly that they can learn to trust people that they don’t hurt humans.

It was not mentioned but another large fish has been mentioned in the Bible. We are all familiar with the story of Jonah. Jonah was taught obedience by the fish. The fish totally surrendered itself to the Lord and allowed it to be used. He swallowed Jonah despite the fact that humans are not part of its natural diet. He taught the disobedient prophet how to obey.

Obedience after all is the most important part of God.

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” – 1 Samuel 15:22

DEPENDENCE ON GOD

I remember talking to a bird watcher. Bird watchers are people who have their cameras or binoculars ready to spot rare birds. I learned from him that most birds pass by the Philippines as part of their migration period. These birds are seasonal and would stay for some time. Probably some of you have seen the news about that.

These birds would come no matter what happens. Some even fall into the danger of poachers or hunters. It seemed to have been wired into their system that this is their stop. Even if the location changed they would still be there. I saw one rare and solitary bird perched atop the lamppost in the middle of San Miguel Avenue. It was all white and has long legs and a long beak. Somewhat resembling a pelican. Imagine this bird’s dedication to his flight pattern. Even if his usual spot has been replaced by a city, he still goes there.

Imagine some of us who complain of small discomforts. Imagine these birds that go wherever their God leads them. They are totally dependent on the most high.

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” – Matthew 6:26

So how much more are we? Aren’t we loved more by the Lord because He sent His only Son to save us from sin? Why is it hard for us to put our full trust and our full dependence on God?

These are just a few of the lessons that we can learn from beasts, rocks, fishes, and birds. We can learn a lot more from them. I hope that as we travel, we would learn more about God and His creation. At sana, mas bigyan nating pansin at bigyang puwang sa ating mga paksang napag-uusapan ang mga makapagbibigay ng aral lalo na yung makapaglalapit sa atin sa Panginoon.

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