We are now some hundred kilometers away from Manila with the PAC youth. Our aim is to plan and discuss the direction of the youth ministries especially now with a completely different line up and leader. So we decided to do it in Baguio not just to plan but to also get to know each other for a few days. Even before arriving here, God has been so gracious that He has made everything possible.
Why Baguio? I like it there. It’s cold.
The stay here so far has given us a lot of time to reflect and recover. I, for one, was able to think about what it means to be a leader of the church not just of the youth ministry. I was able to meditate about what it means to be a real Christian not just one who juggles the laws with his mouth and goes to church like a Pharisee. Here are some of those thoughts.
A wall is basically something that keeps people that you wanted safe by keeping people out. Walls are often high and durable. I often see high and strong walls in houses that are huge, and stately. These are owned by people who have a lot to lose in their house – jewels, money, prized possessions among others.
We often erect walls around us to people we don’t like or don’t get along with. We tend to keep them away from us because for fear that they might hurt us. Think about the stare that your eyes have and distance that you make when you get to ride with a drunk beggar on a jeepney. That is a wall. That is normal. However, often in church, we also erect the same walls. We may deny that and say that we are open when in fact, we intimidate potential members and new comers with a gaze or some times with neglect. How many times have you shaken the hands of a person and really meant it? How many times have you smiled, greeted or waved at a new comer and really mean it? Those are your walls and they do not help your leadership and purpose.
Think about Zaccheus. Here was a man who wanted to meet God. He wanted to see this Christ that they are talking about. It seemed to him that though he was rich, no amount of money could bring him to Christ. He, of short stature and standing in the community, stood there behind a wall of tall people. He could not reach Christ because the followers of Christ were too tall and too tight. He had no choice but to swallow his pride, and climb that tree. His life changed after that encounter.
Thorns could be found on plants or animals as a form of defense. Think about the sea urchin or the rose. These thorns inflict real damage. Try grasping a rose bush or step on a sea urchin. You will get what I mean. Thorns are meant to defend and to keep away predators.
As Christians and servant leaders we often bare our thorns in many ways. Whether outside or inside the church, we are often compelled to defend our faith or world view. Whenever we encounter someone who questions our faith or belief, or just have a different perspective from ours we bare our fangs and teeth and try to grapple with theirs. This is good only if you are being interrogated or joining a debate, but often, we are only doing more harm than good. When we try to force people to see and do as we do, we are doing a great job of keeping people away. It gives them an affirmation that Christians are egotistical and self righteous. It does not help especially when God is telling us to go get them. As servant leaders, do not be a thorn. Thorns may be a good defense but you do not only keep away enemies but friends as well.
“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it.
And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.”
Luke 8:7, 14 ESV
Ice is a hard and cold material from something that used to be liquid or gas. For a liquid or gas to solidify, the material should be subject to low temperatures. For ice to form, it should be in a freezing cold environment. Hence, we can find lots of ice in the northern and southern regions of our planet because those areas rarely get heat from the sun. There are also ice on the caps of mountains because the altitude makes it cold.
Society dictates that being cool is good. Society tells us that be trendy, hip and stylish is a great way to separate oneself from others. If you are cool, others should look up to you and be intimidated by who or what you profess to be. As Christians and leaders, we should not be cool. Coolness is another way of saying being cold and indifferent to people around you. You don’t care what others are saying because you are cool and in the same manner you don’t want to bother with other people. To be cool is to be cold and hard. Remorseless, emotionless and careless towards others is really far away from what a Christian should aim to be.
Continued in the next post…