I have an announcement to make: You’re a hero.
I can hear objections. “No Bo! I’m not a hero.”
I understand your objection.
Tell me. What is the one thing that is common among Lapu-lapu, Andres Bonifacio, Jose Rizal, and Ninoy Aquino?
Answer: All of them are dead.
But if my best friend comes to me and says, “Bo, I want to be your hero. I want to die for you!” I’ll tell him, “Can you just live for me instead? I want you to be with me!”
I need living heroes more than dead heroes.
I repeat: You’re a hero.
Why do I say that?
Because at different moments in your life, you cared for someone more than you cared for yourself.
My mother is a hero. Today, I poke fun at her strange ways. When we’re at a restaurant, she’ll forever read a Menu, not being able to choose her own food. She’ll constantly look at the prices, unable to buy anything because everything looks expensive.
Finally, she said, “I think I’ll pick this. It’s cheap,” pointing to an item that’s P50.
I groan. “Mom, that’s extra rice.”
“Or how about this?” She points to another item that’s P40.
I shake my head. “That’s extra gravy.”
Why is she so thrifty?
Because all her life, she had to be thrifty. For the longest time, there was very little money in her hand. And her six children had to be fed, clothed, and sent to school.
While I was growing up, I don’t remember my mother buying anything for herself. It was always for her kids.
No doubt about it. My mother is a hero.
My wife is a hero too.
Some of you know this fact already. My wife teaches our kids at home.
One night, after a severely tiring day, she talked to me. Our kids are wonderful kids. But there are days when they don’t act so wonderful. And it was one of those days. With tears in her eyes, she asked me, “Can you tell me again why I’m doing this? Why am I teaching the kids at home? Why am I not just sending them to school like everyone else?”
I said, “Because once upon a time, you decided that this was the best for our kids. Because you care for them more than you care for yourself.” (If you’re interested in homeschooling, log on at www.CatholicFilipinoAcademy.com)
No doubt about it, my wife is a hero.
I’m Surrounded By Heroes
Each week, I lead a large prayer meeting called the Feast.
Do you know why our weekly Feast runs smoothly in PICC?
Because we have 600 heroes who volunteer at the Feast. (Why so many? 5000+ people attend the Feast.)
Without those 600 heroes, this Feast won’t happen.
600 ushers, greeters, singers, teachers, intercessors, lay ministers, and more… They spend their own money to dress up in their uniforms, come here earlier than everyone else, and go home later than everyone else. And they don’t get paid.
Our volunteers are happy people. Because they care for others more than they care for themselves.
Here’s my message: God made you to be a hero.
Why does He want you to be a hero?
Because He knows that the only way for you to become authentically happy is to become a hero.
There’s no other path to happiness!
Unless you care for someone else more than you care for yourself, there’ll be emptiness in your life.
At the end of this series, my goal for you is that you become more available to God’s assignment for your life.
Just like Nehemiah…
You Can Be A Nehemiah
How did Nehemiah become a hero?
It all started when he asked one simple question, “How are the Jews back in Jerusalem?” (See Nehemiah 1:2-4)
With that one question, Nehemiah’s comfortable world in the palace was turned upside down. Shattered. Disturbed!
Heroes are born that way: You become a hero when God disturbs your comfortable, predictable world. You allow God to give you His burden.
Let me give you a little background about Nehemiah. Nehemiah had a very cushy job. He was cupbearer of the Emperor! He lived in luxury. He lived in the imperial palace. His future was set. Secured. Guaranteed.
His life was totally comfortable.
But one day, he felt another person’s pain.
And their pain became his burden.
The Bible said “for several days” he mourned and couldn’t eat.
This is a requirement to become a hero.
You feel someone’s pain and make it your own.
If you want to be a hero, you need to do one thing.
You need to allow God to disturb you.
I believe God is searching for people like Nehemiah.
How To Become A Hero
God wants to use you.
God wants you to somebody’s hero.
If you want to become a hero, you need to allow God to disturb you. Specifically, you need to allow God to disturb 4 important things in your life.
Here are the 4 steps on how to become a hero:
Step 1: Disturb Your Asking
Step 2: Disturb Your Associations
Step 3: Disturb Your Affections
Step 4: Disturb Your Actions
Step One: Disturb Your Asking
We usually pray for our needs. Our problems. Our worries. Our fears.
Nothing wrong with that. God wants you to do that.
But if you want to become somebody’s hero, you need to start praying other kinds of prayers.
If you read the prayers of St. Paul in his letters, he rarely prayed for himself. 95% of the time, he prayed for others.
Disturb how you pray!
Here’s my suggestion. Every morning, pray, “God, help me to bless somebody today.”
Believe me, God will answer that prayer.
One day, I was in a bookstore. All of a sudden, a lady came up to me and asked me, “Are you Bo Sanchez?” I said, “Yes.” And right in front of me, she started crying.
She said, “I read your blog this morning. And I was so touched. And I asked God, Lord, I want Bo to pray for me. And here you are!”
I told her, “God answered my prayer too. This morning, I prayed that I meet someone who I can bless today.”
And right in the middle of that busy bookstore, I laid my hands on her and prayed for her. When I opened my eyes, there was 2 other people in line, wanting to be prayed for. We were going to have a prayer meeting in that bookstore!
Disturb your asking.
Step 2: Disturb Your Associations
Disturb your associations. Disturb your schedule. Disturb your itinerary. Shatter the protective glass of your comfortable world. Puncture your self-absorbed, materialistic-obsessed world deliberately.
Everyday, expose yourself to suffering.
Get out of your usual route.
Break your pattern.
Here are three suggestions.
1.Mingle with the Lowly
Talk to the janitors. Chat with the security guard. Listen to the vendors. Rub elbows with the small people. Get into their world. Find out about their issues.
You’ll be surprised.
We think we’ve got problems. Wait till you hear their problems–and you’ll realize you don’t have problems.
That’s why I love my Caring Group with my maids. I’m reminded of a world very different from the world I’m living in. One of my helpers said that her 2 brothers are in the province, and she’s praying that they have better jobs. I asked how much they’re earning. She said her brothers are earning P1500 a month. This brother has a wife and a baby. And he’s supporting a family with P1500 a month.
Let me say it again: You think you’ve got problems? Think again. You don’t!
When you expose yourself to suffering, you give room in your heart for God to give His assignment. Perhaps He wants you to do something about it.
2.Volunteer in Ministries
Go out of your small world. Volunteer. By serving in ministries, you serve people you don’t know.
People who won’t be able to pay you back.
3.Meet Non-Religious People
How can you bring the unchurched to God if you don’t talk to them?
Many times, we only talk to religious people.
But all around you, so many people need God’s Love.
So many people are lost.
So many people are living without direction.
Go out of your way and love them.
Be Jesus to them.
Invite them to chat over a cup of coffee.
Listen to their story. And share your story of how you’ve experienced God’s Love
Step 3: Disturb Your Affections
Let me tell you a true and sad story.
One day, a young woman named Catherine was going home to her apartment. Suddenly, a man named Winston attacked her and stabbed her with his knife. She screamed, “My God! I was stabled!” When she screamed, the man ran away. There were 38 people who were around the area who heard her scream. But not one of them approached her. When the man saw that no one came to help, he went back to the woman and finished her off.
By the time the police came to apprehend the man, the woman was dead.
Where does our apathy come from?
Why do we not go out and help?
Because something in our brain tells us, “It’s none of my business.”
The same voice that spoke to Cain. Once upon a time, there were two brothers, Cain and Abel. Out of envy, Cain killed Abel. And when Cain was running away, God asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
And Cain answered, “Am I my Brother’s Keeper?”
When Catherine was murdered, there were 38 people thinking like Cain. They were asking, “Am I my Brother’s Keeper?”
The story of Cain and Abel is found at the third chapter of Genesis, right at the start of the Bible. And it’s as though the entire Bible is answering that question with a resounding “Yes!”
Friend, God is searching for heroes.
Step 4: Disturb Your Actions
A whole army of psychologists made numerous experiments to find out why those 38 people didn’t help Catherine.
After years of research, here’s what they realized: Those people didn’t help because they depended so much on what others were doing. Because no one was helping, the others didn’t help too. We practice “group-think” so much more than we realize.
If at least one of those 38 bystanders helped that girl, many of the others would have helped too.
But that was the problem.
Because no one dared, everyone didn’t dare.
That’s how most people make their decisions. Most people don’t want to lead. Most people like to be safe and just follow.
So here lies the importance of at least one person becoming a hero.
Friend, can you be that one person?
Can you lead a movement of love?
Tell someone beside you, “Lead.”
Nothing dramatic, mind you.
You don’t need mutant powers to be a hero.
You don’t need to be bitten by a radioactive bug.
You don’t need to rescue the world from an alien invasion.
One day, the husband told his wife, “I will do anything for you. I will cross the Pacific Ocean for you!” The wife said, “That’s nice. But I’d rather you carry the garbage from the kitchen to the backdoor every night.”
Perhaps you can give an encouraging word.
Or you can smile at someone.
Or you can invite someone for coffee and just listen.
Or you can pat someone on the back.
Every encounter is an opportunity to be a blessing for that person.
God said to Abraham, “I will bless you so you can be a blessing.”
This is the reason why He wants to bless us. So that we can be a blessing to others. This is the reason why He wants to give you a miracle. So that you can be somebody’s miracle.
Here’s what I believe. If you won’t share your blessings to others, you won’t receive the maximum amount of blessings that God wants for your life.
Everyday, God wants you to be a hero to somebody.
And it’s not complicated.
Just be kind.
As a mother. As a sister. As a cashier. As a saleslady. As a teacher. As a manager. As a nurse.
Do It For Someone Who Can’t Repay You
It’s easy to do something good for someone who can pay you back. But when you do something good for someone who can’t pay you back, the Lord will pay you back.
The Bible says, Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done. (Proverbs 19:17)
You’ll be happier.
What Happens When You Don’t Care?
Some time back, I already shared this simple yet powerful story with you. But let me share it again…
One day, a mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.
The mouse told all his animal friends: “There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The chicken said, “Mr. Mouse, I’m so sorry to hear that, but that’s not my problem.” Being charismatic, the chicken said, “I’ll pray for you…”
The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The pig said, “I’m so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it.”
The mouse turned to the cow and said, “There is a mousetrap in the house!”
The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s not my problem.”
So, the mouse returned to the house, dejected.
That very night a sound was heard throughout the house — the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.
The farmer’s wife went out. In the darkness, she did not see it. It was a poisonous snake whose tail was caught in the trap. The snake bit the farmer’s wife.
She developed a fever. The doctor said “She needs chicken soup.” So the farmer took his knife for the soup’s main ingredient: Chicken!
But his wife’s sickness continued. Friends and neighbors came to visit. To feed them, the farmer thought of serving them pork adobo. So the pig had to go.
But, alas, the farmer’s wife did not get well… She died.
So many people came for her funeral. And the farmer had to slaughter the cow to feed all of them…
Don’t ever say, “It’s none of my business.”
We are indelibly intricately connected with each other.
When our brother is in pain, we should be in pain too.
God Will Always Repay You
25 years ago, I looked at my 4 pairs of shoes.
Suddenly, I received an inspiration. I felt God telling me, “Give your shoes to your friends who need them badly.”
It was true. My friends needed new shoes. Their shoes were very Christian–because they were smiling.
So I gave away 3 pairs of shoes to them.
And my friends were extremely happy. One of them said, “Bo, I’ve always wondered what would it be like to stand in your shoes. Now, I don’t have to wonder…”
I gave away three pairs and I kept one for me. I used this one pair for weddings and mountain climbing.
Two months later, a couple approached me after the prayer meeting, brining a box with them. The wife said, “We wanted to give this to our son, but it didn’t fit him. Can we give it to you instead?”
They opened the box. They were giving me Bally shoes. 25 years ago, they cost P5000.
“Do you think it’ll fit you?” she asked me.
I smiled, “Don’t worry, I’ll make them fit.”
I began to laugh at God’s message. It was though He was saying, “Bo, you can’t defeat me in this contest of generosity.”
When you start living your life for others, God will take care of you. You can never out-give Him.
To end, pray with me a prayer written many decades ago…
Disturb us, Lord,
When we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
May your dreams come true,
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