I was a tax collector and a sinner when Susan and I were invited to the Brotherhood in 1990. I was reluctant because of my BIR experience – businessmen and Christians are two different beings. To tax collectors, businessmen always cheat on their taxes and are tax evaders. To businessmen, tax collectors are all corrupt and are extortionists.
Unlike Levi (Matthew), the tax collector who, when called by Jesus, hastened to His side and soon became one of the Lord’s twelve disciples, I hesitated and had my doubts about joining the BCBP. Early on when we were just starting in the BCBP I began to agonize in my work as tax collector, trying to rationalize everything. I told myself that I am not like other tax collectors who put first their personal interest over that of the country. I took pride that my team set records of some sort for the high amount of our tax collections.
I am not without sin, but at that time I told myself that I have to sin in order for me to do greater good. I even argued to myself that what I was doing was a sacrifice for which I should be commended. I argued with the Lord that while others always just complained about the corruption and inefficiency in the government, I was trying to do something about it from the inside. As the saying goes, for evil to triumph, it only needs the good men to do nothing. To our critics, I would tell them that it takes two to tango, for every sinful tax collector, there are two or more sinful taxpayers.
I thought I had won all my arguments for my continued stay at the BIR when we were asked to serve as discussion group leaders and treasurer of the Quezon City chapter. I turned to scripture, namely Ephesians 4:1, 1 Peter 1:16 and Matthew 5:48. When you are called by the Lord to serve Him, He does not want 50% or 80% of you. He wants all of you … and the Lord wanted 100% of me.
So I quit my work in the BIR. It was a difficult decision for me because of the many worldly things that I had to give up. At that time I was considered as one of those most promising in the BIR and had been recommended to study International Tax in Harvard Law School.
When I gave up worldly things for the Lord, He returned them a hundred-fold. The jobs I got after leaving the BIR were not only good paying but allowed me to have training abroad, to travel to the US, Europe and Asia and to work with international institutions.
My present work is full of challenges but has a lot of pressure. Working with young, very talented and highly driven professionals, not to mention very demanding clients keeps me on my toes. And, of course, I have my brothers and sisters in the BCBP to help me keep my focus on the Lord. All these challenges, however, cannot compare to the joy that I experience doing God’s work in bringing people back to Him through the BCBP.