Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. –1 Peter 4:10–11
My father was an extrovert. He made friends easily. One reason is because he liked helping people. He helped my ah-kuh (my mom’s brother) get a good job. He ran errands for his friends. He used to go places in downtown Manila, walking, riding the calesa or the sidecars, visiting his friends buying this or that for friends at church. He would lug his purchases up five floors to our apartment and bring them to church. An old friend shared in his eulogy that Papa often did these favors as soon as he could. At the fellowship each Friday, he would go early to arrange chairs, prepare the drinking and eating utensils, place the songbook on the chairs and distribute the program sheet at the start or serve drinks and food at the end of the meeting.
Papa was not wealthy. He did not have many material resources to give people. Yet more precious than material possessions, he shared his time and his service… these were his love languages.
Papa gave his time to love and take care of me and my sister. When we were small, Papa always accompanied us to our classrooms, carrying our heavy schoolbags up flights of stairs to put right beside our seats. He would buy me my favorite food: peanuts and Chinese delicacies called ‘kiet hong thiao’ (sticky rice sweets) when he went to Chinatown. When I first entered college, he accompanied me to the jeepney stop and taught me how to commute to and from school. I remember one time, there was a storm and the streets were flooded, he waited for me at the jeepney stop and took me home in a calesa.
He took time to teach my sister how to swim. He liked playing tennis, but he never demand that we play the game. One semester in college, I had tennis as an option in our P.E. class. He took time to teach me how to play.
After I got married, each time I went home to visit, he would chat with me and open the door for me like a gentleman when I left the house. When my children were going to school, he often helped me pick them up from school.
My father’s legacy of serving reminds me of Jesus’ example. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:25).
Pa, your life of service is an inspiration to me. I miss you so. Let me remember your legacy of loving not only with words but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18)