Playing Dress-Up


W hat do you want to be when you grow up?” It was my first day of kindergarten and Miss Page, my kind and beautiful 20-something teacher, stood in front of me, smiling down with her big brown eyes. At the ripe young age of 5 years old, I exclaimed, “I want to be a teacher, just like you!” Choosing a career was as simple as admiring Miss Page, going home and putting on my mom’s old earrings, taking the pillows off the couches in the living room to make a makeshift classroom, and forcing my younger brother and his poor little pals to be my students. Life was a blissful game of dress up.

“What would you like to study in college?” It was my first appointment with the college and career counselor at my new high school. Though the question was startlingly similar to my first day in kindergarten just 8 years back, the atmosphere was drastically different. Instead of looking into Miss Page’s smiling brown eyes, I found myself having difficulty meeting the intense gaze of my college counselor across the large mahogany desk. I was thirteen years old and decided maybe this career thing wasn’t as simple as it seemed.

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Both God and Money


The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.” -Søren Kierkegaard

Christianity is not a materialist faith. Living in modern America, it seems most believers have lost sight of this fact. We have, instead, become seduced by paycheck prophets, televangelizing an age-old Gospel of Wealth. We live in subconscious adulation of material success, internalizing a Puritan glorification of Predestined Prosperity and all its trappings. We daily orient our lives and thoughts on economic terms, driven by a pervasive calculus that embraces selfish gain and dismisses selfless love as “impractical”.

It is high time for a reminder of what we believe in: Christianity is not a materialist faith.

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“Lord, to Whom Shall We Go?”


After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’”.1
In John 6, we find the twelve disciples after Jesus taught a great multitude. In response to Jesus’ teaching, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him”.2 These were people that had followed Jesus for days. They witnessed Jesus as a miracle mathematician who multiplied barley loaves and fish to feed 5,000 men – let alone the women and children. These followers of Jesus saw that He had crossed to the other side of the sea in the night, and they climbed into boats to catch up with Him. Strangely, who they thought Jesus was did not match up with who He said He was. After hearing Jesus teach, they were no longer willing to follow Him and they decided to leave.

And, this is where we find ourselves with this passage. Jesus turns to the original twelve disciples, and He asks them, “Do you want to go away as well?” Perhaps, we can hear Jesus ask us this question, too. “Do you want to go away as well? Will you also leave?”

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Cheerful Givers


I’m terribly bad at getting people gifts. Just terrible. I think it’s because I think too much. Will she like it? Will he even use it? My saving grace is always the old adage, “It’s the thought that counts.”
The meaning is simple. Neither the gift nor the act of giving is what truly matters. It is the intention behind the giving that matters. For those of you who have received especially mediocre gifts from me, I pray you share that sentiment. What, then, is my intention behind giving an offering or tithe to God? How much thought do I spare for the money I put in the plate at church?

Honestly speaking, not much at all. For my entire life, giving back to God has been yielding a buck or two I happen to find in my wallet as the congregation enters the time of offering. Tithing has been giving up something close to ten percent of my wages as outlined in the Bible. I give what is expected of me. I do what I was taught to do. Does it mean anything if I do it this way? If I think of my offering as the couple bucks that I need to buy myself a can of green tea (which I love), I may tell myself that I need tea and God has no need for my money this week, and it’s true. God has no need for the scraps of paper we assign worth to. He is not a few dollars short of buying a meal up in heaven. To think He needs or wants to take away our money is absurd. Giving to God is not something He requires of us.

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Giving to the Poor


A s Christians living in America, we automatically assume and expect that part of our Christian duty is to give to the poor or to help the needy in some financial or material fashion. Not only is this a way for us to model Jesus in the world, but the Bible directly tells us that God desires for us to fight against injustice and to defend the orphan and the widow (James 1:27). However, sometimes we assume that if we give financially to a Christian, non-profit organization, or serve in our church’s homeless ministry, or even go on a short-term mission trip, this will fulfill our social duty as Christians. We look at it as a duty to be fulfilled or a checkbox on our list to fulfill our social role in this world. But we fail to take into consideration the ultimate spiritual need people have and rather replace it by meeting solely physical needs.

In the summer of 2011, I went on a mission trip to China. Our mission team spent a week at a special needs orphanage and we were able to love on the children, play with them, and pray over them. Being at this orphanage caused me to reexamine everything in my life that I had placed importance on and I came to a startling revelation that what I had considered important issues in my life seemed to pale in light of the desperate circumstances of these children. I came back to the United States and tried to get into a routine, but all I could see were the faces of those little children everywhere I went. I was overwhelmed by the need these children had and I wanted nothing more than to provide each and every one of them with a loving family. But I felt helpless in being able to do anything, not only for them, but also for orphans all over the world and even children who are hurting here in America.

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