By Ronnie Caballero, BCBP Makati
“Therefore, since we for our part are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead; let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Looking forward … this theme seems so corporate, less Christian. Every year, as the months wind down, it is the time for many corporations and organizations to do their annual planning, budgets, goals and targets. But it really is very Christian as the Bible speaks a lot of spending an eternity with the Lord, of future events, of hope for something better than our earthly existence. Whenever I give the BCLP Talk 8 on “The Life in the Holy Spirit” I like to discuss the importance of having a 100,000 Year and Beyond Plan.
It is really mind-boggling for those of us who are not yet focused on eternity. Eternity for the everyday person is sometimes an expression of impatience such as, “it took an eternity for us to get out of that traffic jam” or a favorite dessert that takes “a moment on the lips but ends up as fat that spends an eternity on the hips”. But seldom do everyday people visualize spending eternity in sheer joy worshiping the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, in the assembly of angels and saints. Now, if that is to be our future then we had better get to know more about eternity and how to get there and enjoy being there.
Somebody, I forget now, once defined eternity this way. If you had a mound of gravel three stories high and tasked one bird to transport every grain to another place speck by speck, how long do you think that would take? Any guesses? That, my friends, would only be the first morning of eternity. Given that measurement, one can now have a better perspective on life and its average span. If one would live to a ripe old age of 90 years, it would still not make a dent in the first morning of eternity. So, I would surmise then that a full life of 90 years is ONLY A MERE PREPARATION FOR ETERNITY.
Now that really just puts us back where we started, does it not? LOOKING FORWARD… Looks like we will be pretty busy in the future preparing for Eternity, or as some say, living out our Kingdom goals. Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB reminded us one time in a talk that all of Kingdom efforts are to be viewed in a continuum calle3d “The Reign of God”. In His proclamation in Scripture that “The Kingdom of God is at hand!”, the Lord is actually describing the spiritual reality that we all operate in,k encompassing the totality of our life, situations, possessions, people, places, feelings, perceptions, etc., all of which are under the Lordship of Jesus. All have to be evaluated for their worth in bringing us closer to the Lord or not.
Some of us up to now have the misconception that some areas of our life, specially the hidden sinful or deceitful ones, are not within the scope of our Master, Jesus. This is not life in the Spirit. My definition of life in the Holy Spirit is to be able to walk with the Living God every moment of my life … to live my life as an open book, receiving grace and mercy every moment with Him only one heartbeat away from all the events of my life.
The Reign of God encompasses all. No stone will be left unturned in our life. With Jesus’ triumphant resurrection on that first Easter morning, his power was unleashed over all human life. Death no longer rules and the devil’s power was significantly defeated. Hence, we look forward in hope to the Lord and Eternity, avoiding the pull of the evil one who remains a deceiver.
We have just celebrated our 31st National Anniversary of our BCBP this year and many brothers and sisters counting myself are starting to show gray hair and bulging waistlines. Midlife has set in! We were exhorted to go out into the world to share our faith with others, to be true evangelists. Can we do this, even at our age? Of course! Because what is great about a life in the Holy Spirit is that the Spirit always remains young and vibrant! There are many who have lost count as to how many breakfast sharings, BCLP talks or teachings they have given, but you will hardly find anyone who has said, “I’m tired of the whole thing and would just like to stop completely.” “Go … I am with you,” the Lord assures us.
A life in the Holy Spirit properly lived just does not run out of gas. The grace that flows after one has rendered service to the Lord just puts more fuel and zip to every step of even the most tired mid-lifers. No wonder St. Paul declared that he be sent to where the Gospel had never been preached because zeal is just pumped up as soon as you see new-found believers come alive with their love for the Lord. The smell of the newly-found faith of our new brothers and sisters in the Lord is one of the sweetest smells in the world. In fact, it is a real touch of the Master’s hand. And the rewards for service are out of this world!
Now that’s looking forward!