Was there a time in your life when you forced yourself to do something because you thought it must be done but nobody is doing it?
In Grade 4, I learned to play the guitar. In Grade 5, I started to play the guitar for our church services in Kibungan – not because I was so good but because I was the only one who knows and the only one who was available. In fact, I was pushed to learn how to play guitar because there were two guitars in church, but no one was playing them. To me, our mass or prayer meeting seemed a bit dry when we sing songs without it. I told myself, “If nobody will do it, I will do it.” So, there I was.
For four Sundays, I had been choosing one and the same song for the procession. Somebody asked, “Is that your favorite song?” I said, “No, but it’s the only song I can play. For the stanzas, you only need two chords (A and E); and in the chorus, you just add the third one (D). I was not so good. Some people would give feedback and say it ‘nicely’, “Medyo silang din adjust di gitara sya?” They were pertaining to the tuning of the guitar strings but I knew I was making many mistakes. Wrong key. Wrong rhythm. Wrong chord. But I was happy that I was serving in church. I was loving God through this new-found talent.
Through time, I became better.
I continued serving in our parish. I involved myself in the music ministry and youth ministry. When I turned first year high school, I was elected as the President of the Student Catholic Action in our school. Being the President, I was sent to attend a national gathering of Catholic youth leaders in Cavite. For some reasons, even if it was a national gathering, there was a shortage of instrumentalists. Nobody was playing the guitar. I had to volunteer. So, there I was – imperfect, not so talented – but playing the guitar and leading a group of young leaders from all over the Philippines singing their hearts out to praise and worship the Lord.
[Maybe you are not the best. Maybe you think you are imperfect, not talented, or not skilled. But God is calling you to do something. Do it. He will equip you along the way. And by what you do, you are responding to His call to love Him back. For what you do for Him is a concrete manifestation of the truth that you are set-apart for God’s use only. Because this call is not just for priests and pastors preaching in the pulpit. This is a call that is applicable to all of us, regardless of our profession or position. Teachers. Policemen. Drivers. Farmers. Businessmen. Employees. Professionals. Students. Whoever you are.]
But even if you are serving God, it is not a guarantee that it will be smooth and perfect.
When I turned third year high school, I was still active in the parish youth ministry. I was the leader. And still the guitarist. We planned for activities, for projects. We did a concert for a cause. We went to a far barangay in Kibungan with a group of volunteers, a band and some borrowed instruments. During the event, one electric guitar that we borrowed fell from the table down to the floor. The bridge was damaged. The guitar was destroyed.
And because we also lacked management and marketing skills, the event did not earn much. The event could not even pay the repair or replacement of that borrowed guitar. I thought to myself, “I have to pay for that.” But how could a third-year high school student, from a poor family, afford it?
I went home with that problem. And for some reasons, another problem came in. And another.
I told myself, “This is enough. Let them do it by themselves.”
I stopped going to church. Days went by. Weeks went by.
I thought they were the ones losing in my absence. But I realized, I was the one losing. Something in me was looking for something. And slowly, I pulled myself back to the church. I started to participate again. I started to serve again.
And that problem we were facing, it was gone. The other, it was solved. And our parish priest handed me an envelope of cash which I delivered to the owner of the guitar to pay for the damaged guitar.
I continued to serve even in my imperfect ways. I was growing in the process. One Christmas Day, I received a card from our parish priest. As I read his message to me, I well up in tears. I thought that what I was doing was minor, small, ordinary… but he said, “Thank you for using your gift so that people can sing their praise to God.” I realized that what I was doing – even how small it was – is special. It is. After all, it was for God.
My friends, let me tell you this: Your Father celebrates your small ways of serving Him. With your time, talent, and treasure. Your selfless service. In your work. Wherever you are assigned. Whatever good thing you do, do it with your best. And do it for HIM because you are for Him!
Sometimes you get discouraged because you are imperfect. People around you are imperfect. People leading you are imperfect. This happens because we, all, are a work-in-progress. So, rise up and serve Him anyway. And give your all!