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Not for hire

The story is told about an honest boy who returned to a lady her lost purse. She thanked him, but commented: “When I lost my purse, there was a $100 bill in it. Now there are one hundred $1 bills.” The boy replied: “That’s right, Ma’am. I just wanted to make sure because the last time I found and returned a lady’s purse, she didn’t have any change to give me for a reward.”

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In today’s gospel (Mk. 1, 14-20), Jesus called the disciples Simon, Andrew, James, and John, and they immediately followed Him with little or no thought of worldly reward. The only promise was that from fishermen, they will become fishers of men. The job description was not clear either, but, they followed Jesus anyway.

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“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus calls us personally to Himself. Every calling of the Lord starts with a personal experience that develops into a personal relationship, and overflows into a ministry. Without a personal relationship with the Master, ministry can easily slide into functions, duty, obligations, devoid of heart and passion.

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Please remember, we “catch” for the Lord, not for ourselves. We who claim to be His followers must constantly remind ourselves that we are servants with a Master, and that the work goes on not so much because of us, as in spite of us, and that we are all just passing by, and, dispensable.

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The pandemic, hopefully, has made us realize that material things are immaterial in the end. Life is fragile. Anyone of us can go, anytime, and it happens fast. We must shift our focus from what we hold in our hands, to what we have in our hearts. What’s the use of all the money, the power, the achievements, the connections in our hands, but end up with empty hearts without God, because we made money our God, and without friends and loved ones because we took them for granted or set them aside?

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Stay focused on the Lord, not on the load, as you follow Him. When a follower of Jesus begins to focus on the trials and the sacrifices, he/she could become discouraged. Likewise, when a follower begins to focus on the privileges and the perks, he/she may become proud, vain, shallow, and empty.

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We have to remind ourselves again and again: I’m “not for hire”; I’m “not for sale”; I’m “for service”; I’m “for heaven.”

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Tomorrow is the death anniversary of our Mama. My sister, Bing, reminded me what Mama always told us as children whenever we were sick: “Unabig ka la anako (My child, you will get well already).” They were words filled with love, hope, comfort, and power. We have to go back to words and feelings that make us whole and well again. Thank you, Mama, for the love, the memories, the examples, the lessons you have given us as a true follower of Christ.

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Speaking of words, today, National Bible Sunday, let us draw strength from the Word of God, especially during these difficult and uncertain times because of the pandemic. Let the Word of God be our life vest to keep us afloat, so as not to drown. And let Mama Mary, Star of the Sea, Stella Maris, be our guiding light, to bring us to shore when we breathe our last.

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Stay afloat!: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable…” (Phil. 4,8)

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, remind us that discipleship is “not for hire” and “not for sale,” but “for service,” and “for heaven.” Amen.

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TAGS: Gospel, Jerry M. Orbos, Moments
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