By: Jai dela Rosa
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
1 Timothy 4:16
One of my Filipino friends invited me to her birthday celebration one Friday afternoon in a restaurant. There were two new friends I met and I was really happy to know them. All four of them were talking about their married lives and about their relationships with their husbands and mothers-in-law. Since I was the only “agashi” (single lady) among us, I couldn’t interact about their discussion. Though I had nothing to say, I was listening to them interestingly. Then after a while, one of them asked me about my work here in Korea. Others already knew me because they were friends also with Kristine, the missionary who came before me. And so I told them more about what I do most of the time. While I was enjoying chatting and exchanging thoughts with them, at the back of my mind I thought, “How can I share God’s word to them? How can I tell them about the Truth?” I really wanted to reach out to them.In the course of eating, one of them, the one who was in front of me wondered and asked why I was only eating one dish when there were many dishes on the table. Actually, the day before that day, though I was quite shy about it, I told the celebrant about the foods I can only eat and the foods I cannot eat. I just made it sure I could have something to eat there in case she orders pork or sea foods. And so before I arrived, she ordered a dish especially for me. Before I could answer her question, someone answered, “She doesn’t eat pork or any kinds of sea foods because she is an SDA; eating such is prohibited by her church.“ Then, I just smiled at them. But instead of understanding me, she insisted to help myself eat with what they were eating. She was trying to convince me and told me that nobody would know except them. But of course, I sweetly and smilingly said, no. Another friend told us a story about Kristine, that she too couldn’t be forced to eat pork. I was glad about her story because it made me feel justified. The one who insisted to let me eat shared another story about her college friend in the Philippines. Her friend was also an Adventist. She remembered that she also insisted to let her friend eat pork. She did everything just to let her friend eat but after she did everything, exhaustedly she gave up.As I went home, I remembered a thought from a church elder when I was still in college. He said, “It’s better not to admit or claim that you are an Adventist if you would take exams during Sabbath. Because if you do, the ones who are trying to stand in truth would be affected. And we would have difficulty in upholding our image and principles in the whole campus.”I learned a lesson here. Our single action and immediate decisions would mean a lot and affect a lot to others. What we did in the past, what we do, and what we will do—even alone in the crowd would surely influence, transform and change others. If those two persons didn’t take hold of what is right, then my friends would probably feel that I was just being too dissociable. Though I didn’t have the time to tell them more about the real reason behind, I’m hoping and praying that they will soon be able to know the truth.
Titus 2:7 says, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness.”