Wednesday, June 8, 2011

on callings, and answering them well

Not too long ago, the “friendship” between a certain individual and I came to a sad, abrupt end. After years of chatting and confiding -- as well as tons of money spent at his establishment -- and even a birthday party at his house, “Henry” suddenly saw fit to tell me, without preface or explanation (by sms, no less, despite the fact that he’d seen and chatted with me just a couple of days before), that he does not give professional advice over the phone.

In other words, if I wanted his help, I’d have to see him and pay for it (please do not think, by the way, that I had been asking anything complicated, or trying to get out of paying for something, or anything like that; what I'd been asking him was along the lines of “would you know any home remedy for constipation?”).

Well, to say I was taken aback would be to put it mildly. When it had just happened, I was so astonished that I told my husband and my mother -- both of whom, thanks to me, had also been his clients -- and they too were surprised, and wondered if he were just joking.

However, I had replied to his smsed reproof in seriousness, with an apology and a sort of explanation that I had been asking his advice as a friend. But he clearly did not believe in giving advice as a friend, because he merely said, “Apology accepted”. And so that was that. It was not a joke.

My husband shook his head when I’d told him -- doubtless thinking of the money he’d very recently spent there -- and said that people generally don’t answer their “callings” in life for altruistic reasons, and mostly, no one does anything for free or out of the goodness of their hearts. I didn’t entirely agree with this, since I like doing things for free and out of the goodness of my heart, and I know lots of other people who do too.

But I knew where he was coming from, and I was saddened by it. Thankfully, I’ve now reached the point of, like my husband, just shaking my head and shrugging it off. Clearly, I will not be bringing the kids to see Henry anymore, as I’d been loyally doing for years. But I’ve not given up hope in sincerely kind, generous people who answer their callings in life with genuinely big hearts. And I've had to ask myself whether I answer my calling in life with love and grace.

There’s this fellow in my church for instance -- “Charlie” -- who’s a lawyer, who freely gives legal advice whenever he’s asked with a cheerful smile, even on weighty, complex issues that take time and effort to explain. When I think of his warm-heartedness, I am certain that it is God who inspires one with such goodwill, kindness, brotherly love, and the spirit to serve.

I don’t think it’s something that comes naturally to our innately selfish, convenience-loving selves. This whole episode has inspired me to pray that I too will have a genuine spirit to serve, to help others willingly and without hesitation, in whatever calling I have –- mother, wife, daughter, friend.

As Jesus Himself says, “… if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles].

Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you.

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy;

But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike].

For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that?

And if you greet only your brethren, what more than others are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles (the heathen) do that?

You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:41-48).

These are principles that would surely better anybody, Christian or not, and the world as a whole. We all have our callings in life -- professional and otherwise -- we've all been given talents; let's be sure to use them positively, graciously, openhandedly, such that God would say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matt 25:21).

1 comment:

Kris said...

that's right! do not be disheartened by one person.. there are lots of people out there who's more than willing to help another person, EVEN if they may not have been friends.

on the other hand, you can pray for Henry who may be behaving as such because of a recent experience with another person. and this experience may have caused him to think that there are many others out there who wants to take advantage of him.


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