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Ex 19:4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 And now if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to Me above all the nations; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the sons of Israel.
As a growing little boy in the milieu of relatively almost primitive farming in the sixties in the hinterlands of Bukidnon, I learned several principles of life from my father, a hard working father of ten, a dedicated elementary school principal whose performance in work, both in his career and farm gained him the respect of the whole neighborhood. One of those principles that I found most profitable today in my effort towards winning the struggle for success in life is the principle of obedience.
My father was fatherly but also displayed a great deal of hard-to-get personality. I mean, it was not that easy to convince him to bring you favor especially when money, which was more than ten times scarcer in our family compared to some folks in our place, was part of the issue. However, over the years I learned the way to his heart – obedience.
At the start of a typical day during weekends, around that long family table, before we eat a hearty breakfast of corn grain and some assorted fresh veggies dipped in the sauce of Mrs. Ginamos, we each received a specific work assignment to accomplish. The girls would go with my mother to wash bundles of clothes in the nearby creek; the boys with my father in the field. Usually he joined us the whole day, not just to get done his own share of the work but to lead us the way to do things right. In the process he observed the way we responded to his instructions and our attitude towards our job assignment. At the end of the day, coming together again over that family table for dinner, before anyone takes his first bite of the-same-yesterday-today-and-forever menu, there my father would rehearse before us his corrections and commendations about the day’s work.
Like most Filipino fathers in the past, unschooled about the art of making his care and concern tangible, he was good only at giving details of instructions and corrections but very parsimonious in giving commendations. Even then, we got use to the feeling of exhilarating joy when his eyes took its turn to looking us with a nod and smile, though meager and scarce yet good enough to convey a loud approval of a job well done. Such a profound appreciation was sufficient to compensate for the lack of food on the table. After dinner, in the absence of TV set we get around our mother who would read to us a fictitious story of Uray Angkay from the famous weekly Bisaya magazine (Bible then was not part of our family culture and tradition). Though the story really entertained us, yet the commendation we received from our father because we’ve learned to obey him took its proper place in our hearts, and has been proven to be useful in giving us strong and healthy personality.
One of my Bible readings during the week took me to the passage in Exodus 19:4-6. In effect God was saying, of all the people in the whole world which are His, Israel would be His special possession. As such, the privilege of sonship and
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