I turn 45 today.
I feel so old and so young at the same time.
Because I started preaching when I was 13, everyone called me the “youngest preacher” in the world.
But suddenly, the shift happened. The word “young” vanished, and I was just introduced as the “preacher”.
One day, I was invited to give a talk for a huge gathering of single people. There were thousands. As I preached on stage, I looked around the theatre and the truth suddenly ramming me like a 10-wheeler truck hitting me—“Oh my gosh, I’m the oldest person in the room!”
So yes, I feel old today.
45 is almost 50. Five more years and I’m half-a-century old.
But on the opposite pole, I also feel very young.
Why? Because age is not a measure of time but a feeling.
Though I’m 45, I feel like I’m 32. (Don’t snicker.)
Let me tell you why: Because I still have a lot of exciting dreams to fulfill. And my most important dream is to build 1000 Feasts all over the world. (The Feast is the main weekly gathering of my little spiritual community, Light of Jesus Family.)
Why? I just want to serve more people.
Which brings me to my big message today: Unless you learn to serve, you’ll never be happy.
The 3 Signs Of Spiritual Maturity
One day, someone asked me a very disturbing question. He asked, “Bo, the Philippines is a very religious country. We’re supposed to be the only Christian nation in Asia. Yet why are we so corrupt and so poor? How come?”
Yes, Filipinos are religious. No doubt about it.
But here’s the Key: There’s a giant difference between religious maturity and spiritual maturity.
Religious maturity means you do your religious duties very well—you pray daily, you attend church, you read your Bible, etc.
Spiritual maturity is totally different: It means you love like Jesus.
Spiritual mature people know that faith without action is dead (James 2:17). And they know that without love, all religiosity is nothing but noise (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Do you want to know if you’re spiritually mature?
Look for these three signs:
I love this passage below. I’ll tell you why in awhile. Read through again how Mary said Yes to God:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary; “may it happen to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.
Soon afterward Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. (Luke 1:38-40, 56)
After Mary gave her YES to God, the Bible says she “hurried off” to the hill country of Judea.
Why the hurry?
Real spiritual people know that there’s this twilight zone between your decision and your action. Don’t stay in this area for too long. It’s dangerous.
If you dillydally, if you loiter, if you meander in this twilight zone, before you know it, POOF! Your decision disappears forever.
Here’s my advice: Once you make a decision, act immediately. Run through this twilight zone between decision and action. Don’t sleep until you do something!
I’ve yet to meet a successful person who doesn’t have a bias for action. Once a successful person makes a decision towards a goal, a flurry of activities takes place. The successful person acts immediately.
My Books Have Varied Results
Let me give you an example.
Yesterday, I was in Cebu. A man came up to me and greeted me with so much joy.
“I read your books and I love them,” he said. People say that to me all the time. But what blew me away was what he said next. He said, “Bo, I read your book, 8 Secrets of the Truly Rich. Because of that book, I was inspired to build 3 businesses, all giving me passive income. I still have a job, but I now own 6 taxi cabs, a store, and a water station.”
Wow. I began to think of the other people who read the same book, who also made a decision to do something, but didn’t do a thing.
Why? They didn’t hurry in the twilight zone between decision and action. Because they didn’t have a bias for action; instead, they had a bias for analysis.
Don’t get me wrong. Analysis is very good. But some people like analyzing something to death before they act.
Another man came up to me yesterday. He said, “Bo, I’m still far from becoming a success. I suddenly realized why nothing has happened in my life. Because I’m afraid of failure.”
I asked him, “Have you had a major failure in your life?”
And he said, “None. Because I don’t even try.”
“Then your problem isn’t your lack of success,” I told him. “Your problem is your lack of failure. Here’s what you do: Increase your rate of failure so you can increase your rate of success.”
Let me go back to my topic.
If successful people have a bias for action, spiritual people have a bias for service.
Why is this important?
Loving God is easy. He’s perfect!
But haven’t you noticed? Loving another human being will be more difficult.
By the way, it doesn’t have to be a big service…
Mary served simply. She didn’t conquer armies, vanquish nations, run organizations, or preach to millions. Instead, she went to her cousin Elizabeth to cook meals, mop floors, wash clothes, dry dishes, clean toilets…
When we reach Heaven, I bet we’ll be surprised at how God will reward different people.
For example, my staff—the tech guys setting up the audio system every time I preach—may have a bigger mansion than the Preacher.
Our wonderful Caregivers serving the abandoned elderly in Anawim every single day, bathing them, feeding them, cutting their fingernails and toenails, may have a bigger mansion than the Founder of Anawim.
Our telephone counselors in our Light of Jesus counseling ministry, or the vendors who sell my books in the booktables, or the cooks who prepare the meals in our orphanages—all of them may have a bigger mansion than my mansion.
Shoot, it may be possible that altar boys and church janitors may have a bigger mansion than the Pope. (Sounds heretical, I know. But it’s the truth.)
Why do I believe in that?
Mother Mary is our model of simple service. She never served in a high-profile manner. She never had a title. She just served.
And that’s what God would want you to do.
At the Feast in PICC, we have 200+ people who volunteer to make it happen. From the Ushers to the Kids ministry to the Youth team to the Choir…
I remember a woman came up to me and said, “Bo, I really want to join the Ushers Ministry. But it’s difficult for me to wake up early and come here 30 minutes before the Feast starts…”
So I reminded her, “Service is Sacrifice.”
Which is the third sign of a spiritual person.
I go to Israel every other year. And every time, without fail, I take that looooong trip that Mary took to visit Elizabeth—from Nazareth to the Judean hill country.
But unlike Mary, I take a nice tourist bus. A very well appointed, comfortable, air-conditioned tourist bus.
Mary had no bus. Goodness, Mary didn’t even have a bike.
For 4 hot days, while already pregnant, this 14-year old girl trekked the Judean desert, under the scorching heat of the sun. Those hills were crawling with wild beasts and thieves. (Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? And how thieves beat up the guy? It was pretty common among travelers.)
She took that trip because she wanted to serve an elderly cousin.
That was sacrifice.
Spiritual people are sacrificial people.
Mary had all the excuses in the world not to go. She could have said, “Lord, I’m pregnant myself. I have morning sickness. I don’t like the smell of garlic. How can I serve my cousin Elizabeth?”
But she didn’t think of her own discomfort. Or her own pains. Her own issues. Her own needs.
She went out and served someone else.
This is real Christianity.
Christianity isn’t about going to Heaven. Christianity is about bringing Heaven down to earth, especially for those who are going through Hell today.
And sacrifice starts in our families.
Sacrifice In Your Family
Last month, I went on a 3-day trip with Francis, my 6-year old boy. We went to Cebu, just the two of us. It was a father-and-son trip. No wife. No sibling. Just him and me, talking, laughing, playing, swimming, and eating together.
I promised myself to bring out each of my sons for a trip like this at least once or twice a year.
(Note: This isn’t part of the talk, but let me tell you about the second child syndrome. Francis is my second child. It’s easy for the second child—or middle children—to feel inferior, especially if the elder sibling is an achiever. You need to spend time with each of your kids. But pay close attention to your second child and all your middle children—because sometimes, they need it more.)
Why did I take a trip with little Francis?
I’ve realized that life is about creating memories. When Francis is older, his conscious mind will forget the details of that trip. But his subconscious mind will remember everything. Your subconscious mind is a perfect recording machine. It remembers every detail. Most of all, Francis will remember how much I loved him because I spent enormous time with him.
I’m a busy guy. I run 9 non-profit organizations and 12 businesses. So how can I “waste” 3 days with my son? Simple. It’s called Sacrifice. When you love someone, you make sacrifices.
I know my roles. Before being a preacher, or author, or leader, or businessman, I’m first of all a father.
Real Spiritual people sacrifice.
Serving others is a privilege. The reward of service is the fact that you have been given the chance to serve someone.
Are you a spiritual person?
May your dreams come true,
PS1. Thanks for celebrating my birthday with me today!
PS2. Remove The Blocks Preventing Your Financial Growth. I’d like to help you remove any “mental and emotional blocks” that prevent your financial growth. Take charge of your finances!
Join me. I’m giving a How To Be Truly Rich Seminar on August 6, 8:30am to 12noon, in Pasig. For details, click here.
PS3. Hurry. Because we always run out of seats. For details, click here.
PS4. Not Living In Manila? So sorry, my seminar is in Manila. But if you live elsewhere, you can get my How To Be Truly Rich Seminar “online”. How? Join my TrulyRichClub and get the audio Seminar as part of your starting package. For more information on how to become a Gold Member, click here.
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