Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Have You Shared Your “Plastic Bottle”?

Last Sunday I noticed something unusual in the Kingdom Hall’s donation box. Usually, bills and coins are voluntarily (and discreetly) placed into the donation box as a testament of heartfelt contribution and support to the worldwide work. However, this time it was different. A little girl donated a plastic bottle. Filled with curiosity, I walked over and tried to take a closer look.

Surprisingly, it was not purely a plastic bottle. It was a container used by the girl for saving money in! The little girl explained that she set aside a portion of her little allowance to save and donate the money because of love. “I wanted to help others. It was my allowance savings but I’ll give it.”, she said while beaming at me.

In an era when some are quick to label people as self-centered, many young ones—including the little girl above—are proving to be just the opposite. Instead of buying her favorite toy or spending purely on recreational stuffs, she managed to voluntarily donate. We too may use our time, energy, and resources to serve others. We can learn the truth of this statement - “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” – Acts 20:35.

I learned that the total cost of the coins in the plastic bottle was around P200. This struck me. The little girl saves and donates on a monthly basis. How about us? Do we use our resources (money, time and energy) to serve and assist others? In times of calamities, loss of possessions or even death of loved ones, are we quick enough to ‘keep an eye on the personal interests of others’?  Of course there are other ways to help and serve, but we too can discover the joy of giving. How about you? Have you started sharing your “plastic bottle”?

Pag-ibig (LOVE)

Language is never a barrier to express love. This was what we experienced when we met a sister from Atlanta, USA as we welcome them to the Philippines. Age may have hindered her from learning a new language but if her tongue did not allow her to express it, her action made an even louder expression of love.

Tired from more than twenty hours of flight, she handed out a card bearing her name and a special word written with much effort.

Pag-ibig! Yes, that’s the Tagalog word for LOVE. She smiled and said feebly, “Pardon my handwriting but that’s the best I could do.” This warmed our hearts and true enough, love was felt in a universal way. A week was spent with them and it was not just the unlimited hugs, Kingdom smiles and inspiring stories that bonded us together but the ‘Agape’ love we know we’ll share from time indefinite.

Love is a quality that identifies every genuine Christian. As we grow spiritually, we ought to express it more fully. Along with deeds that reflect a self-sacrificing spirit, it is also important to have a genuinely warm feeling toward our fellow. What if problems arise or cultures don’t blend? Let us not keep account of the injury but try our best to forgive and forget.

Instead, let us always keep account in mind:
By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.” - John 13:35

Now, the sister who handed out the card to us may be mountains and oceans away, but we still keep in touch. Together we share the spirit of ‘not looking for our own interests’ but have intense love for our international brothers and contribute to peace and unity.