Like a Diamond
SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND
By Atty. Fe Marie D. Tagle, Manager, Human Resource Development
(Sermon delivered to the students of the High School Department in celebration of University Christian Life Emphasis Month.)
Our life is a journey that started during our conception. The beauty of this particular journey is that the Way has been laid down for us with clarity. Jesus offers Himself as the Way for all of us. In John 14:6, He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
As I was reflecting on this biblical passage, I cannot help but look back on my life’s journey for the past 39 years. I saw that Jesus truly paved the way for me just like everybody else. But in my journey, I also saw that along the way, I closed my eyes to where I was going, and in the process, I encountered bumps and rough roads. HE pulled me back on track. Experiencing these bumps, though, taught me and made me understand life better. Now I can share with others what I have learned, and perhaps guide young people to avoid the bumps and rough roads. I characterize what the journey is, with Jesus as my Way, in the acronym SHINE.
“S” stands for Seek God’s Kingdom.
This tells us that life’s journey is about joining ourselves with the Father in the end.
One day, I had this conversation with my youngest daughter, Naina. I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up, she answered, “I want to be a doctor, a Forensics Doctor.” I got curious, so I asked her why she wants to be one. She answered, “I want to perform autopsies so I will know the cause of death of persons who died of crimes, and maybe, help solve the crimes.” Again, I asked, “Why is it important for you to help solve these crimes?” This time, she answered me with conviction, “so there will be no more criminals, Nanay, and the world will have peace. That is what God wants us to have.”
I was astounded by her answer. The wisdom of a child, indeed! Her answers convey an understanding of her purpose in life, and that purpose is about God. I fervently pray that she will not forget this conviction because this is one lesson that I could only hope I could have learned early on in my life. Had it been so, my actions toward everything I did would have been more deliberate, with my purpose providing me the right focus. In high school, for example, I could have earnestly listened to my Physics teacher instead of pretending to read my Physics book when in fact I was just reading the novel inserted inside the book, or I could have made some of the assignments myself instead of relying on the answers of my classmates which were sometimes wrong. Then I could have learned better, and the difficulties encountered, the bumps, would not have happened.
“H” stands for Be Happy.
I came across an interview of Karen Davila on ANC with Anita Moorjani. Many of you may have seen this too because the video has been shared many times on Facebook. Anita Moorjani is a cancer patient who had a near death experience and who survived to tell her story. She narrated what it was like to be in a state of coma, and how experiencing “death” made her realize how life should be lived. She claimed that the experience opened her eyes to what really caused her cancer, and that is, living a life in fear. She said that every basic decision in her life then was dictated by fear – what she should eat or not eat was because of her fear that certain types or preparations of food might trigger cancer; what profession she should choose for fear that she might not get a job or she might lose the lifestyle she was already enjoying, and so many others.
The bottom line: fear outlined every aspect of her being, and this affected her physical health that ultimately resulted in her getting cancer. But after going through the life-changing event, she fully understood how life should be – that instead of living in fear, life should be fully lived with one finding his/her joy and happiness. She said, “Even when you eat, the choices of what is appropriate should be about the joy of having a well body and not because of fear of contracting illnesses.”
“I” stands for Invest in Prayer.
We hear people talk about investments almost every day. Parents talk about investing money in a good school to ensure their children get good education. Students also invest efforts in school projects and activities in or order to get good grades. In short, people, on a day to day scale, invest money and effort in almost every undertaking in anticipation of positive returns or profits. However, these investments do not actually guarantee positive yields. In economic downturns, for example, investments in money might be lost completely. So what is a good alternative then? Invest in Prayer. Prayer is one activity that does not entail cost but will surely guarantee positive returns. The time spent in prayer is not time lost; rather, it provides greater returns, more than what one could ever reap in doing other tasks. The promise and assurance about investing in prayer is in Matthew 21:22, and it says, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
“N” stands for Nurture God’s Gifts.
It is a given that God sets us on this journey armed with lots of gifts. These gifts are actually the “tools” we need to navigate in this journey. What we need to do is hone, develop and nurture these gifts.
I remember this one story from a seminar that I attended. In a show and tell activity, a boy was asked to stand in front of his class to share his gifts/talents. The boy just stood there not knowing what to say or show his classmates as the usual singing, dancing or acting has never been friendly to him. A few classmates started to giggle, then, the whole class, sans the boy and the teacher, burst into a merry laughter. The boy raised his hand to speak. He said, “Ma” am, “I just discovered my gift. It’s my face. It elicits happiness from my classmates.” Then, he joined in their laughter. I would say, the boy’s attitude is a gift, too!
What about you? Have you discovered your gifts? Could it be dancing, singing or acting? Perhaps, eating? Well, eating skills could be handy in eating contests!
“E” stands for Be Empowered by the Holy Spirit.
How do you know that you’re on the right path? People say, you”ll just know because being led by the Holy Spirit will change your life for the better.
In a book that I read, it states that a good story in the Bible on heeding the promptings of the Holy Spirit is the story of David. Imagine a young boy sent to fight a war against an army led by the giant, Goliath. This must have caused ambivalent feelings on the part of David. Yet, he did what he had to do. It was the Holy Spirit urging him on! And the result, his life and the lives of his people changed for the better thereafter.
This is what life’s journey is for me, with Jesus as my Way. I revel in the wisdom and knowledge it has shown me because as the Holy Scripture says, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). And so my dear students, this is my encouragement to all of you, be wise about life as you journey with Christ, and shine bright like the diamonds in the sky!