A Taste of Humble Pie

Manny’s defeat devastated us. After eight world titles, millions of dollars in prize money, years of fame and political influence, Manny Pacquiao kisses the floor following a vicious shot from Juan Manuel Marquez. Yesterday, the best fighter left the ring a winner while the other suffered a humiliating defeat.

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His courage and dedication to the sport has been tested and his world titles prove it. But now is the time for his much publicized faith in God to undergo testing. If it is real, it will pass the test. And the first part of that test is to become NOTHING.

Nobody. In the world’s eyes, a loser or a has-been. From someone of influence to anonimity. Because in God’s scheme of things, a person full of himself and his achievements is useless in Kingdom work.

Many believe that a person’s power & influence would get you into the highest places where the Word can be preached. That people will listen to your message because of who you are. If that’s the case, then they’re saying that God’s Word and God’s Spirit are insufficient to reach out to the lost and God needs the help of millionaires and politicians.

But the Message is sufficient because “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, (1 Timothy 3:16)”. 

God’s concern is the condition of the vessel by which His message is sent. God uses empty vessels. And, yes, even cracked pots.

John the Baptist could’ve made himself a brand name but willingly stepped aside in favor of the coming Christ, who in John’s words, “… is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.”  The religious leaders of their day considered Peter & John unschooled and yet these two ministered in power because the religious noted that these men spent time with Christ. The apostle Paul considered all his accomplishments and pedigree pure rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. And there are other relevant models we can learn from.

As for many boxers, answering the bell was easy for Manny. He trained long and hard for that. But the call he must answer now is God’s, and if Manny is the Christian he says he is, he will have to train long and hard in God’s camp, according to God’s program, before God can effectively use him for service.

Yes, service. Because there is a higher calling than being world champion – and that is being God’s Servant.

"for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. (1 Peter 5:5b)" 

Pacmania

What else is new? Pacquiao makes the world stop, at least here in the Philippines.

In scenes replicated nationwide, all other things are set aside as we gather to watch Pacquiao fight. Enterprising neighbors charge as low as twenty pesos per head for the live feed, squeezing in as many people as possible per square inch. Others pitch tents complete with local politicians’ names and bring out the big screen LCD TVs.

In small, un-airconditioned  computer rental shops, people view the fights via internet on small computer screens.

It is said that for the few minutes when Pacquiao fights, the roads are clear of traffic, no crimes are reported, and the cops and crooks cheer the ‘National Fist’ together with the rest of the nation.

Should some power-hungry nation wish to invade our shores, it would be wise to do so on days like these. Because we may just be too busy to notice the invasion. Or maybe not. Because on days when Pacquiao fights, we Filipinos are at our best – able to set aside our differences and unite behind someone who has brought honor to us time and time again – something that most of our politicians, sadly, will not be able to do.