“One of my favorite stories,” Dallas continued, “ is about the dog races in Florida. They train these dogs to chase an electric rabbit, and one night the rabbit broke down and the dogs caught it. But they didn’t know what to do with it. They were just leaping around, yelping and biting one another, totally confused about what was happening. I think that’s a picture of what happens to all sorts of people who catch the rabbit in their life. Whether it’s wealth or fame or beauty or a bigger house, or whatever, the prize isn’t what they thought it would be. And when they finally get it, they don’t know what to do with their lives. This is a huge factor in finishing badly. People need a rabbit that will not break down. But that’s not something the superficial values of this world can really give them.”
“What are the characteristics of a rabbit that won’t break down?” I (Bob Buford) asked.
“First of all,” he said, “it has to be tied to something that transcends the individual life.”
——-Dr. Willard Dallas as interviewed by Bob Buford, for the book FINSHING WELL (Book 1)
That story above continued to linger in my mind as we concluded the Second BCBP Senior Service Team meeting last November 21, 2009 in Makati. Here we were, a group of past, accomplished Chapter Heads seeking significance in a new phase of leadership, the morning AFTER leadership. It is not that senior leaders are confused about life. In fact, continuing membership in the BCBP defines that one has indeed embraced Kingdom values and is claiming and living that heavenly citizenship even while alive. It’s more like the situation of “empty nesters”, couples who have successfully raised their kids and find only themselves facing each other in their home ‘nest’. It is a whole new phase that makes one retool and refocus, to soul search with all the experience and wisdom gained, to take it all a further step.
It is not that this is new territory. My own chapter headship ended in 1997, a mere 12 years ago. After that I moved on to be Managing Editor of Kapatiran for 3 years. And even since then I have been finding a lot of significance in being a servant at large, finding bits and oodles of service here and there. The issue here is that there is now a growing number of former leaders who can probably make a huge impact for Jesus and the BCBP by harnessing all that talent and experience put together.
The question foremost in our minds is “what more can we do? My thoughts go back to Brother Mike Joseph, a prominent Catholic lay preacher and Christian community builder, who said in a planning session we had invited him to last year, that for a community to prosper ‘you must feed the lambs.’ He continued, ‘If you feed the lambs, they will come and grow in numbers.”
He recounted the experience of one Catholic community that was growing from the efforts of one famous lay Catholic preacher who was having worship and preaching every Sunday. After the community had doubled in number, the leadership discerned in its prayers to train more preachers. After designing a training program for preaching, it was ready to take on more challenges. The community has since grown 400 percent and has purchased a P2.0 million worth sound system for its 4 weekly preaching and worship sessions jampacked with auditorium sized crowds.
Brothers and sisters, there is an urgent hunger out there. Sometimes we feel that the whole city or country is already reevangelized and that there is no one to invite to Jesus. I believe we need to repeat and repeat this statement until we have internalized the desire to go and win souls for Christ: If we feed the lambs, they will come. Attendance and commitment, time, talent and treasure will surely be there once the desire is in our heart.
In Matthew 28, we have received our marching orders to spread our faith, to give to as many as possible a living experience of Jesus’ great love for all humanity. We certainly have a lot to account to the Lord for the experience and talent that is within our reach. Isn’t it worth at least our “best efforts” to try?