Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Are you a giver or a taker ?

She was nuts.
When I was a teenager preaching in small prayer groups all over the country, I’d see this woman sneak into the room—trying hard to conceal her face—carrying a mammoth of a tape recorder inside a white plastic bag over her shoulder.
And like clockwork, before I step down the pulpit, she’d sneak out and leave quietly, vanishing into thin air.
This woman would be present in every single talk.
I can only imagine the lunacy of this woman. If she wasn’t listening to me live, she was listening to me on tape.
So naturally, when I go home, I knock on my mother’s door and say, “Mom, how many times do I have to tell you, stop doing that! You embarrass me!”
My mother would open the door and with an innocent look that could win an Oscar ask, “Huh? What are you talking about?”
But behind her, I could already hear my voice being played from her recorder.
“Mom, you’re getting too proud,” I said, “and that’s pride just the same. Look at your room. It’s a national museum of my talks, my articles, my photos…”
Mom said, “Bo, don’t you know that God has given mothers an exception to that rule? Mothers can be very proud of their children.”
“Where did you read that? Vatican III?”
“Go away now. I’m busy,” she said.
No doubt about it. My Mother is the Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer of Bo’s Fans Club International.
Today, at 84 years old, she hasn’t changed.
Every Sunday, I preach three times at the Feast: 8am, 10:30am, and 1pm.
Would you believe? She attends all three sessions and listens to me preach every single time. Not content with that, before leaving the house on Sunday, she’ll first watch me preach at six in the morning on TV5.
And from Monday to Saturday, she wakes up really early just to listen to me preach through Radio Veritas at five in the morning. And in the middle of the week, she’ll ask my sister to put on the internet so she can watch me at
Mom loves me. No doubt about it.
I also remember one thing about her…
Mothers Are Givers
We were a big family. Six kids.
And whenever there was a birthday or some other special event, we’d always have fried chicken.
Like all kids, we would fight for the “drumstick”. Because chickens—for some reason—only have two legs.
All those years growing up, I always thought that Mom’s favorite part of the chicken was the neck. Because every time we had fried chicken, she chose it.
Later on, I realized she chose that piece because no one wanted it.
Why? Because my mother was a giver.
I guess most mothers are givers. They’d rather starve as long as their kids are able to eat.
I love my Mom. I really do.
But I’ve resigned myself to this undeniable fact—that I’ll never love my mother more then she loves me. It’s impossible. She loves me so much. My heart is filled with love today because Mom and Dad loved me. I am who I am today because of that love.
I repeat: I think most mothers are givers.
My own wife is a giver too.
Yes, she is the Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer of Benedict and Francis Fans Club International—our two boys.
When Bene was a toddler, he drew a line for the first time. She screamed, almost in tears, “Bo, look at your son! He was able to draw a line! A line!”
That’s the role of the mother and the father—to affirm, to inspire, to love.
Today, my wife homeschools our kids.
It’s not easy. I’m so proud of my wife. She gives 100% of herself when she teaches our boys at home. Each morning, she’d wake up early to prepare her lesson plans—for two little boys! She’d choose the activities, prepare test papers, and draw charts for them. She’d spread out the paraphernalia needed—crayons, scissors, clay, blocks, gizmos… Everyday, she’d teach our kids from 8am to 3pm.
No doubt about it. My wife is a giver.
I repeat: I believe most Mothers are givers.
When they’re not, bad things happen.
Why Many People Have Problems
I thought all mothers and fathers are givers. Not true.
How did I find out?
In my 30 years of ministry, I’ve met people who have so much emotional baggage, so much hurt and violence in their hearts, that they’ve made terrible choices in life. Consequently, they have monstrous problems. They have addictions. They have really bad relationships.
And through the years, I’ve found out one common thing among most of them: Their parents weren’t givers. They were takers.
Their mother or their father were selfish people—thinking only of themselves, shouting at their kids, beating them up, verbally abusing them, or abandoning them all together. When these children became adults, they made terrible choices in life, because they were so desperate for love—they had no anchor, no confidence, and no inner peace.
Sometimes, the problem wasn’t selfishness. Just ignorance.
“As a child,” my friend said, “my mother gave me away to her older sister. Like I was a puppy.” Most of these people, now adults, still wonder why they were given away. They have a big hole in their hearts that they desperately want to fill.
My friend, if your parents weren’t givers, go to God.
God is the greatest giver.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.
Yes, God is the Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Executive Officer of your Fans Club International. He watches every step you make, listens to every word you say. He loves you so much.
And He wants you to be a giver too.
The Lifestyle Of Giving
Do you want to receive anything?
More joy? More wisdom? More friends? More money?
Here’s what you do: Give away that exact same thing that you want to receive.
Because that’s how the universe works.
Whatever you give, you receive.
Take the case of wisdom.
I give wisdom to people. I’ve written 14 books so far. (By the way, I’m now launching my 15th book, entitled, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.)
But between the author and the reader, who gains more wisdom? The reader reads the book once. But the author rewrites his book ten times. Guess who remembers the truths more? Yes, I give wisdom. But I gain ten times the wisdom I give away.
Or how about happiness.
Who are the happiest people in the world? Those who are able to give happiness to others.
That’s just how God made the world. We receive what we give away.
Even money.
When God Blesses Our Tithing

Yesterday at our meeting, I asked Randy Borromeo to share his story with us. Randy is our Feast preacher in Makati and the guy in charge of our media ministry.
Like me, Randy gave his life to God when he was 12 years old.
He shared how as a young kid, he started tithing or giving 10% of his allowance to God.
When he was a teenager, he recalled that life was hard. He had 9 siblings. And one day, his helper Aling Esther said, “Randy, there’s no food in the house.”
Randy told her, “Pray to the Lord. God will provide.
So Aling Esther prayed, “Lord, give us four viands!”
Randy was shocked. “Aling Esther, why did you ask for four viands? One is enough!” He turned around and prayed, “Lord, you better answer her prayer. I don’t want us to lose face.”
A few minutes later, someone rang the doorbell.
Randy opened the gate and saw a woman carrying a tray of food. It was Mrs. Cabigao, their neighbor. “It’s my birthday today! I hope you can use some food…”
Randy quickly counted the viands on the tray. There were four viands!
As the family gathered around the table, still mesmerized by how God blessed them, the doorbell rang again. When they opened the gate, it was Mrs. Cabigao again, this time bringing ice cream for everyone. God gave more than what they asked for.
Randy said, “Even if life was hard, I tithed. Because I saw that God cannot be out-given.” And almost 30 years later, he continues to tithe. Whatever he gave, God gave back to him many times over.
Let me share with you one last story.
Be A Giver Until The End
One day, a woman was dying of cancer.
In a few days, she would celebrate her birthday. And deep in her heart, she knew it was the last birthday she’ll ever have. But there was no bitterness or sadness.
So she called all her closest friends and invited them all to a party. She told them the truth: “You better come,” she said, “because I think this will be my last birthday party.”
Her friends came and they had lots of laughter together.
After the meal, she brought all of them to her living room.
She faced them and said, “For years, I was in the gathering phase of my life. Today, I’m no longer in that phase. I’m in the surrendering phase. As I’m about to depart this earth, I no longer need material things. I have only one need in my life now. I need to love. I need to love you. So before you go home, please allow me to love you…”
She then spread on the table all her most precious belongings—a favorite teacup, a lovely pitcher, a scarf, a warm jacket, a watch, a few pieces of jewelry…
She said to her friends, “Please bring one gift that you need. I don’t need any of them anymore. So that every time you use it, hold it, or look at it, you’ll remember that I love you. It’ll be our connection.”
Many tears were shed in that party. But much laughter as well.
Six weeks later, this woman went to Heaven.
She was a wise woman.
She gave until the last breath of her life.
She knew the language of Heaven.

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