Who Cares About Caring?

We are precious in God's sight, not targets of quotas to be conquered. 
Not objects to be manipulated, but sacred subjects to be cared for. 
For we are the sacred creation of our living God. 

Some years ago, Martin England, a white Southern insurance man, learned that the great Dr. Martin  Luther King, Jr. was not covered by a life insurance policy. That worried him almost daily. He ran after Dr. King convincing him to buy a suitable insurance plan for his family. It wasn't easy chasing King for weeks. But finally he got Dr. King to sit down with him and his persistence paid off Dr. King signed the insurance papers. 

Tony Campolo, recalling this story in one of his books, noted that it wasn't long afterward that an assassin's bullet pierced Dr. King's body and took from America the greatest of all modern spokespersons for freedom. Fortunately, the tragedy of King's death was not compounded by his leaving behind a destitute family. An ordinary insurance man had taken care of matters through an extraordinary commitment to meet an important need. 

He cared. That's what makes Martin England different from the other insurance salesmen. He cared not for what he could benefit from a successful deal but what his clients would get from such a deal.

I'll never forget the experience I had with two young men who entered our house convincing me to buy a set of very expensive encyclopedia. It was easy to refuse. My mother-in-law already bought a similar set from articulate salesmen. And I preferred a lean cd-rom encyclopedia more than this voluminous literature. 

But I became more curious as the two gentlemen alternately delivered their well-rehearsed sales pitch. They had quick rebuttal for every objection I raised. That whetted my appetite for debate all the more as I wanted to see how these guys were trained to sell. 

The animated exchange continued for the next forty-five minutes. And the boys' patience began to wear thin. The older boy then delivered a monologue on the supposed benefits of this product. That did not work. Finally, they gave up. That's when I introduced myself as a marketing man and offered tips on making a sale. Perhaps more out of sheer exhaustion than politeness, they listened. 

There was nothing wrong with what they said, I told them. But everything about their approach was wrong. They were so engrossed with their sales formula that they neglected the human side of the deal and that is the heart of meeting a person's need. A sensitive customer can smell a mile away that he is being treated like a project to be finished, not a human to be helped. That kills any prospect long before the salesman opens his mouth. 

Customers - that's the rest of us - have been created in the image and likeness of God.

Wanted: Leaders, Not Managers

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 
Not so with you.
Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Do you know that people prefer leaders to managers? They would rather be led than managed. 

This message by United Technologies Corporation of Hartford, Connecticut was published in the Wall Street Journal: "People don't want to be managed, they want to be led."

"Whoever heard of a world manager? World leader, yes. Educational leader, political leader, religious leader, scout leader, labor leader, business leader, etc. Why" Because they do not manage, they lead. The carrot always wins over the stick. Ask your horse. You can lead your horse to water but you can't manage him to drink. If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself. Do that well and you'll be ready to stop managing... start leading."

Not everyone can be a good leader and a good manager at the same time. Some are excellent managers while some are strong leaders. 

Writer Don Martin in his book Team Think notes the differences between a leader and a manager: 

A manager administers, a leader innovates; 

A manager maintains, a leader develops; 

A manager plans, a leader directs. 

Many people want to be leaders for the wrong reasons. They smell glamour and personal glory in leadership. Will they find it there?

Parents of college applicants in a university were asked, "What would you like your child to be - a leader or a follower?" A father, after much thought, wrote that his child, although a very individualistic person, was really more of a follower. Not long after, the college admissions director wrote the father back, "We feel he'll fit in specially well. Because he will be the only follower in a class of 412 leaders!" As it turned out, all the other parents wanted their children to be a leaders. 

To dream high for your children is to want to see them become leaders, not managers. 

Thomas Monaghan is the founder, president, and chief executive officer of Domino's Pizza, Inc. From 1970, Domino's grew from a small debt-ridden chain to one of the largest pizza companies in America with sales reaching over $1 billion in 1985. 

Asked for the secret of his company's phenomenal growth, Monaghan replied, "I programmed everything for growth. Everyday we develop people - the key to growth is developing people." This is a pizza parlor, but he was looking out for people and not for the right recipe for a tasty crust or fast delivery schedules. Knowing how to deal right with your people is the key to effective leadership. 

Friends, think of the cost of leadership, not of its glamour. Jesus gave Himself to people day in and day out, instructing them in God's Word. He made sure that His life was the truest example of excellence in leadership. 

What was Christ's golden rule for being an effective leader? 

People are changed because they see a clear example to follow. There is no need for coercion and intimidation. Jesus Christ was the perfect example. Follow His leadership style. His is the most effective way. As a matter of fact, the only Way.


No one knows what he can do until he tries. 
Do not let countless job promotions and opportunities pass you by for fear that you would not be able to do what is expected of you. 
Such fears are baseless. 

Many people have approached and told me, "You know, Francis, I have always dreamt of becoming a writer. But I can never be one now that I have this job. Besides, I also have a lot limitations." In their vulnerable moments, they reveal that they still greatly cherish these childhood dreams. The biggest hindrance to attaining these is themselves. Emperor Caesar wrote his commentaries in his tent while all the rest of the Roman army were asleep. The following day, he got up early and went to battle. 

Handel wrote his best music after his doctors had told him about his impending death. While Beethoven wrote the Fifth Symphony after he had become deaf.

Three of the world's greatest poets - Homer, Milton, and Dante were blind men. 

Hannibal and Lord Nelson, both outstanding generals, each had one eye. 

Daniel Defoe wrote the classic Robin Crusoe while in prison. So did John Bunyan with his Pilgrim's Progress. Martin Luther translated the Bible in the Castle of Wartburg. 

Dante wrote for twenty years in exile while awaiting executing. Cervantes wrote Don Quixote in a Madrid jail. The apostle Paul himself wrote his epistles joyfully while under arrest. 

You'd say, "But these were great and talented men. I have a job to sustain for my family and my future."

Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind while working full time for a newspaper. Parliamentarian and statesman Lord Cavanaugh had neither arms nor legs. Our very own revolutionary Apolinario Mabini was a paralytic. 

Now, do I hear you say, "But still I can't do what I want to do."

That's absolutely true because you can only do what God allows you to do. God has given us enormous talents and abilities to do great things for Him. It is a tragedy if you have not yet discovered them. This is as if you are living as a pauper when the land that you won has a large oil field underneath. It is more tragic if we already know what we have and yet not use them. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson says that the reward of something done well is to have done it. Benjamin Franklin said, "Well done is better than well said."

God has appointed a day when all our works will be tested through fire. It will be sweet to hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Hold on to your dreams. Tell God about them and if He approves them, lift them up in prayer and they will come to pass. Without God, it is not worth dreaming about them. 

Arise, o my soul, from a long slumber. For your dream to come true, you have to wake up first.

Truth Dearer Than Fiction (The Real-Life Characters of "Gone With The Wind")

Truth can indeed be lovelier than fiction. 
The real story cannot be captured in neither a book nor a movie. 
An inspiring story like this will not easily sell two million copies without the sensational ingredients of immorality and scandal. 
Yet, no price tag can be put on the reality of torn lives that are transformed into peaceful ones. 

"Come back to Tara... to Scarlet and Rhett and the greatest love story in all fiction..." These are the written words on the back cover of a book that has become one of the most successful, best-selling novels. 

The book Scarlet, penned by Alexander Ripley, is a sequel to the classic novel Gone with the Wind. For more than fifty years now, this legendary love story has continued to bewitch hopeless romantics who clamor for a sequel. Ms. Ripley, who was personally in love with the novel, decided to write her dreams down in a book. 

The reviews were glowing. People magazine claimed that it was "fun, entertaining, absorbing." Newsweek declared, "Best of all, Rhett is the same dashing heartthrob women everywhere have swooned over..."

What many people do not know is the original novel was not made up of merely dreams. It was based on real people who lived similar lives to the novel's characters. Many are unaware that the real Rhett Butler was no longer the same dashing heartthrob whom women swooned over. He had become something better. 

Rhett Butler in the flesh was a man named Rhett Turnipseed while the real Scarlet O' Hara was called Emelyn Hannon by her family and friends. It was true that Rhett really walked out on her and joined the Confederate Army. 

After the Civil War, Rhett became a drifter and a gambler, and he ended up in Nashville. Tired of an empty life, one Easter morning in 1871, he attended a Methodist revival meeting where he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Soon after, Rhett entered Bible School and became a Methodist preacher in rural Kentucky. 

What about Scarlet, did they meet again? Yes, they did. The Turnipseed family historians tell this story: 

A young woman in Rhett's congregation ran away and rumor had it that she went to work in a prostitution house in St. Louis. True to his pastoral calling, Rhett searched for her.

He finally found the woman in brothel but the Madame of the house would not let her go. Later on, Rhett learned that the Madame was really Emelyn Louise. Their friendship was renewed. 

The young girl under her was soon taken out of the flesh trade. Eventually she married and became the matriarch of a leading family in the estate. 

After her encounter with Rhett, Emelyn left prostitution and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ. She opened an orphanage for Cherokee children. She died in 1903, with her grave marked to this day. 

The stories of Rhett Butler and Scarlet O' Hara are true. Real miracles do happen and are available to those who surrender their lives to the great Life-Changer, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. 

The Word of God says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefor, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold new things have come."

You, too, can experience this life-changing power. Surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He best knows how to run your life. He has the whole universe at His disposal to make your life beautiful.        

Like A Thief In The Day

Stealing is a crime, no matter how much is stolen. 
It does not only mar our own reputation but our honor as a nation as well. 
Realizing this, we see our state of helplessness for we have a sinful nature.
We need Christ to rescue us from this. 

Signs in our department stores read: "Shoplifter will be prosecuted; Beware of shoplifters and pickpockets."

Shoplifting is a major concern in our retail industry today. 

Do you know that a certain percentage of the price you pay for your merchandise is for shoplifting expense? 

One department store owner relates the strategy of a group of people suddenly barging in and scattering themselves all over the place causing distraction among the sales personnel. In just a few minutes, an average of thirty pairs of jeans would be missing. 

On other instances, "pregnant" women give birth to towels, T-shirts and jeans. Students are caught with their bags full of stolen jewelry and clothes. This is the reason why we have to spend more on security measures, thus increasing overhead expenses. 

We may say, "That only goes for kleptomaniacs and not for me. Not for a suave, discreet guy like me." But what about cheating on your exams? Or maybe bloating the truth during job interviews? Or taking towels from hotels? Don't you sometimes extend your 15-minute coffee break to 20? Is there some "creative accounting" cooking up in your insurance claims and income tax reports? 

Have you  heard about an honest letter sent to the BIR? It read: "Dear Sirs, I cannot sleep. Last year when I filed my income tax return, I deliberately misrepresented my income. Now I cannot sleep. Enclosed is a check for Php 3,000. If I still could not sleep, I will send you the rest." 

This next story is not funny. My wife and I were in one of the stores in Hongkong when a commotion broke loose. It turned out that an old woman was caught stealing. She was a Filipina. At that instance, it felt good that I was half-Chinese and I wanted to stick to that for the time being. This brings to mind our notoriety for faking documents, illegally extending our stay in a foreign land, and keeping hotel and airline property as travel souvenirs. 

I am now used to waiting in long queues at international airports with fellow Filipinos as our passports are double-checked. 

When this happens, I always envy the rest who just breeze through Immigration. What do they have against me? My being Filipino.

Curse of the Orient Seas

Proverbs 12:17 and 16:11 remind us that a "good man is known by his truthfulness; a false man by deceit and lies" and that "the Lord demands fairness in every business deal."
He established this principle. 

Denver, Colorado was host to the 1996 Christian Booksellers Convention where more than 12,000 people from all over the world gathered to see and purchase the latest in spiritual books, music, and novelty items. With over 400 exhibitors covering almost 10 hectares of floor space, thousands of new products for the Christian retail market were featured. 
I always look forward to attending this convention, knowing I would have an opportunity to bring home Bibles, books, and other materials that can meet the literary needs of our country's Christian community. 

I  have attended many conferences and it is refreshing to grace this kind of rare gathering where there is no sight of smoking, drinking, and scantily-clad women; no sound of swearing. Continuous with various publishers spending what seems to be eternity filling out orders and discussing delivery instructions. 

That year, I had my eye on one large publishing company. After several attempts of trying to get an appointment with its representatives, I finally got one. But that was all I got. This big firm refused to give me a credit line. 

I have been doing business with around fifteen different suppliers. So far, everything has been good and pleasant. They have been faithful in their delivery commitments and likewise my store has also been making its payments on time.

This publisher's conditions were extremely stiff, I thought. Each transaction, regardless of volume, has to be prepaid before any delivery was to be made. Businessmen know that credit facilities are always given as a regular business function. But what to me were credible credit references were completely ignored. 

I surmised  that perhaps this is practice they have with first-time clients with whom they want to initially establish trust. Once this is hurdled, regular business can proceed. I was dead wrong. 

"You will have to prepay every order before we can ship them out to you," said the stern-looking publisher. That got my goat as I inquired, "But, Sir, I'm sure that you do extend credit facility to your other accounts, don't you?" As he affirmed this, my reflex response was "Sir, why then do you refuse to extend us credit?" Then he dropped the bomb and answered, "We do extend credit facility to every country in the world except to the Philippines and Nigeria." As I dug out of my defense,, he added, "We had some very sad and tragic experience doing business with your country before and we would not want to commit the same mistake again."

My first impulse was to defend my country as patriotic instincts began to surge through my wounded national pride. But then the truth has a way of making me sober, if not more objective. It's not the other countries' fault, I thought quietly, for we have ruined their trust for so many years. And our reputation has been so stained as a people that not even the word "Christian" can make them change their minds. The burden to prove otherwise rests on my shoulders, not on any pious-sounding name I invoke. 

Despite its setbacks, I still carry my Filipino passport and with it bring a different message that we are a people who can be true to our word and keep commitments.