The State of Virginity

The State of Virginity
I should like you to be free of all worries. The unmarried man is busy with the Lord's affairs, concerned with pleasing the Lord; but the married man is busy with this world's demands and occupied with pleasing his wife. This means he is divided. The virgin - indeed, any unmarried woman - is concerned with things of the Lord, in pursuit of holiness in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has the cares of this world to absorb her and concerned with pleasing her husband. I am going into this with you for your own good. I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Monday, January 18, 2010

INSTEAD OF WORRYING ABOUT INGRATITUDE, LET'S EXPECT IT

On his journey to Jerusalem he passed along the borders of Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. Keeping their distance, they raised their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he responded, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." On their way there, they were cured. One of them, realizing that he had been cured, came back praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself on his face at the feet of Jesus and spoke his praises. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus took the occasion to say, "Were not all ten made whole? Where are the other nine? Was there no one to return and give thanks to God except this foreigner?" He said to the man, "Stand up and go your way; your faith has been your salvation." Luke 17:11-19

Many years ago, there was a young woman whose job was to sell Toto at the Toto booth near my house. She was paid very little for this job. Everyone in that area called her "Toto girl". At night, she helped her sister to sell ladies' handbags at China Town (Petaling Street). She got married at 16 and by the time she was in her mid-twenties she already had two daughters who were of school-going age. Her husband was a taxi driver and his income was barely enough to support his family. To make matters worse, her mother-in-law was giving her a tough time and often scolded her in front of the neighbours. My grandmother, who loved to buy Toto, got to know of her plight and related it to my mother. My mother really sympathized with her situation and asked this Toto girl to show her whatever certs she had. After looking at her certs, my mother said that she could qualify to become a temporary teacher in one of the chinese primary schools. My mother then got her a teaching job. She worked for one year as a temporary teacher but was kicked out the following year because of her bad attitude. My mother got her another teaching job in another chinese primary school. After teaching for two years, she qualified to go for training and became a permanent teacher. (During those days, there was a lack of chinese school teachers and those who taught for two years would be trained to become permanent teachers.) So after becoming a permanent teacher, did this 'Toto Girl' ever say "thank you" to my mother? No, she didn't. She pretended that she didn't know my mother at all. Whenever she met my mother, she would just walk past without even looking at my mother as though my mother was a complete stranger to her. Because of her steady income, her husband and mother-in-law dared not bully her anymore. On the contrary, she was the one who bullied them! If not because of my mother, what would she become? Did she ever ask herself this question? My mother used to tell me about her ungratefulness and I kept wondering how could someone be so ungrateful to the person who changed her life. Is this human nature?

Now, after so many years, I am doing what my mom used to do ie to recruit temporary teachers for my school. I know very well that there are many jobless graduates out there and it is not easy for them to get a job especially those with a poor command of English. Whenever there are vacancies in my school, I would try my best to help these jobless graduates to become temporary teachers in my school. Last year, I brought this jobless graduate from Johor to my school as a temporary teacher. It wasn't easy to arrange an interview for her with the officer in the Education Department at Jalan Duta. On the day of her interview, we were having some kind of ceremony in the hall and I had to go up to the office so many times to call her and a middle-aged guy (another jobless graduate whom I have recommended as temporary teacher for my school) to see how the situation was. Finally, I had to drag my headmaster with me to confirm with the officer that these were the temporary teachers that our school sent for the interview and that our school needed them badly. The guy didn't get this job because he was overaged but she was lucky enough to get it. When she first started teaching, she was penniless and often complained that she had no money. She even wanted to borrow money from the school. She was really desperate for money and at that moment of her life this job was her only way out. Now, after teaching for a few months, she has made enough money to buy beautiful clothes for herself (graduate temporary teachers are quite well-paid). Did she ever say "thank you" to me for getting her this job at the moment when she was penniless and needed a job badly? She pretends that she doesn't know me just like what the Toto girl did to my mom many years ago! Whenever she sees me, she would just walk past without looking at me as though I am a complete stranger to her. And I dare not talk to her. Why? Because even simple friendly questions like "How much is the bus fare from Kuala Lumpur to Johor?" and "Do you have a diploma?" could make her lose her temper. I am glad that not all the temporary teachers that I brought to my school are like her. There are some very nice and helpful ones. Actually, it doesn't matter to me whether they know how to be grateful or not. I only hope that they don't treat me like a stranger. What do I get from helping these jobless graduates? Nothing. Why am I helping them? Well, I would like to share one of the parables that Jesus told. Here it goes:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels of heaven, he will sit upon his royal throne, and all the nations would be assembled before him. Then he will separate them into two groups, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. The sheep he will place on his right hand, the goats on his left. The king will say to those on his right: 'Come. You have my Father's blessing! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me. Then the just will ask him: 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or see you thirsty and give you drink? When did we welcome you away from home or clothe you in your nakedness? When did we visit you when you were ill or in prison? The king will answer them: 'I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.' (Matthew 25:31-40)

Let us serve the world as Our Lord did. Let us stop thinking about gratitude or ingratitude but give for the inner joy of giving. Do not make the human and distressing mistake of expecting gratitude. Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let's expect it. This is human nature. That's life! Below is an excerpt about ingratitude from Dale Carnegie's "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" that I would like to share tonight. It is very meaningfully written and I suppose my readers would like to read it too. Here it goes:

If you saved a man's life, would you expect him to be grateful? You might - but Samuel Leibowitz, who was a famous criminal lawyer before he became a judge, saved seventy-eight men from going to the electric chair! How many of these men, do you suppose, stopped to thank Samuel Leibowitz, or ever took the trouble to send him a Christmas card? How many? Guess ... That's right - none.

Christ helped ten lepers in one afternoon - but how many of those lepers even stopped to thank Him? Only one. Look it up in Saint Luke. When Christ turned around to His disciples and asked, "Where are the other nine?" they had all run away. Disappeared without thanks!

And when it comes to money matters! Well, that is even more hopeless. Charles Schwab told me that he had once saved a bank cashier who had speculated in the stock market with funds belonging to the bank. Schwab put up the money to save this man from going to the penitentiary. Was the cashier grateful? Oh yes, for a little while. Then he turned against Schwab and reviled him and denounced him - the very man who had kept him out of jail!

If you gave one of your relatives a million dollars, would you expect him to be grateful? Andrew Carnegie did just that. But if Andrew Carnegie had come back from the grave a little while later, he would have been shocked to find this relative cursing him! Why? Because Old Andy had left 365 million to public charities - and had "cut him off with one measly million," as he put it.

I knew a man in Chicago who had cause to complain of the ingratitude of his stepsons. He slaved in a box factory, seldom earning more than forty dollars a week. He married a widow, and she persuaded him to borrow money and send her two grown sons to college. Out of his salary of forty dollars a week, he had to pay for food, rent, fuel, clothes, and also for the payments on his notes. He did this for four years, working like a coolie, and never complaining. Did he get any thanks? No; his wife took it all for granted - and so did her sons.They never imagined that they owed their stepfather anything - not even thanks!

That's how it goes. Human nature has always been human nature - and it probably won't change in your lifetime. So why not accept it? Why not be as realistic about it as was old Marcus Aurelius, one of the wisest men who ever ruled the Roman Empire. He wrote in his diary one day: "I am going to meet people today who talk too much - people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won't be surprised or disturbed, for I couldn't imagine a world without such people."

That makes sense, doesn't it? If you and I go around grumbling about ingratitude, who is to blame? Is it human nature - or is it our ignorance of human nature? Let's not expect gratitude. Then, if we get some occasionally, it will come as a delighful surprise. If we don't get it, we won't be disturbed.

It is natural for people to forget to be grateful; so if we go around expecting gratitude, we are headed straight for a lot of heartaches. Instead of worrying about ingratitude, let's expect it. Let's remember that Jesus healed ten lepers in one day - and only one thanked Him. Why should we expect more gratitude than Jesus got? Let's remember that the only way to find happiness is not to expect gratitude, but to give for the joy of giving.

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