Why Do We Make Things More Complicated Than They Should Be?

Things used to be simple then. As I grew up, I learned how people like to make things a lot more complicated than they should be. It’s as though we can’t accept something as true or valuable if we haven’t achieved it through difficult means.

Even in matters of spirituality, many people scoff at Christianity because they see it to be too simple. And being simple, it has often been tagged as too good to be true, a myth, or a child’s fairy tale that could never happen in real life.

We don’t believe in happy endings anymore. We can’t believe there is a heaven where we can be eternally happy. We find it impossible to believe in a God who can love us without measure or end.

And so we seek other forms of spirituality. We seek powers we can control and occult practices and beliefs that are hard to understand. People believe in such things because they seem to be mysterious, a secret meant only for the elite few.

With Christianity, however, heaven is given to us free. It has already been paid for by Jesus Christ Himself who loves the humble and the meek. Indeed, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who can be like a little child. Pure, innocent and true.

Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the middle of them and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Matthew 18:2-3, WEBBE


Would You Sell Your Inheritance for a Bowl of Soup?

Day 13 of Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Day podcast series “The Bible In a Year” again left me reflecting upon a truth I never saw before.

When I first read the story of Esau and Jacob, I must admit that I somehow felt disconcerted. I also felt it was unfair for Jacob to be able to get away with stealing Esau’s birthright. Even if Esau made a mistake, didn’t Jacob do something wrong also?

Later, I’ve realized that I may not have understood the story deeper. While Jacob’s move is not one I would agree with, Esau’s actions may have been graver because he has taken for granted a great blessing that was meant to be his.

And that’s the point Fr. Mike Schmitz was able to discuss. While we can easily judge the foolishness of Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of stew, we could also be guilty of the same thing.

How many times have we chosen something lesser than our eternal inheritance? How many times did we give more importance to people and things that draw us away from God?

Here are the relevant Bible verses from Genesis 25:

19 This is the history of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham became the father of Isaac. 20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian, to be his wife…
24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esau. 26 After that, his brother came out, and his hand had hold on Esau’s heel. He was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27 The boys grew. Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field. Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he ate his venison. Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 Jacob boiled stew. Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with some of that red stew, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom.*
31 Jacob said, “First, sell me your birthright.”
32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me?”
33 Jacob said, “Swear to me first.”
He swore to him. He sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew. He ate and drank, rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright.

Compared to the greatness of Esau’s inheritance, a bowl of stew is nothing. But that bowl of soup was all he ever wanted at that moment. It was the focus of his attention. It was the only thing that could satisfy his hunger.

May we remember in moments of temptation the truly important things. May we never exchange our pearl of great price to something temporary, to a bowl of soup that could take away our hunger for a moment but could never satisfy the eternal hunger of our souls.


To Live With an Open Heart

There are things you thought could make you happy. You looked up to it and focused your whole attention into it. You devoted all your waking hours and your sleepless nights. You pursued it no matter how difficult it has become. You held on to it only to find out that the end of your journey, it would never give you the fruits you have desired for so long. You have striven so much only to be disappointed in the end.

On the other hand, there are things that came gently and unannounced, made its way slowly into your heart and unexpectedly brought you warmth, joy and hope. Things that changed your life. Things that touched your heart and soul until you found yourself welling up with tears, being truly happy from the bottom of your heart.

In this life, we often tend to hold on too much to things that only disappoint us in the end. Learn also the art of gentleness and openness. Who knows what wonders await you if you are willing to receive such blessings within your heart?


How Much Do I Trust God?

I was listening to Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Day 11 podcast of The Bible In a Year when I realized something I never understood before about Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac.

First, here are some relevant quotes from Genesis 22:

11 The LORD’s angel called to him out of the sky, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
He said, “Here I am.”
12 He said, “Don’t lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and saw that behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place “The LORD Will Provide”.* As it is said to this day, “On the LORD’s mountain, it will be provided.”

In a way, it involved a willingness to bring back to God everything He has given us and not withhold anything from Him. It is proving that God is the most important One for us.

But what Fr. Mike Schmitz said in his podcast made me reflect on another word, and that word is “trust”. To trust that God is loving and powerful and wise. To trust that He knows what’s best for us. To trust that He is good and would never disappoint us in the end.

Abraham knew God and knew Him so well he trusted Him. He trusted that even if Isaac’s life would be taken, God could bring him back. He trusted that even though he did not understand what God was planning to do at that time, God is still the good God he knew. The God who keeps His word. The God who is merciful and just.

We are not being asked to blindly sacrifice everything without trust in the One we are sacrificing to. Before He even asks us for anything, He has already proven Himself and our sacrifice is our own test whether we still believe in Him or not.

We cannot worship a god who is evil and who takes lives on a whim, asking us to blindly follow him without purpose or meaning. Faith is for our sake, for our own peace. If we have faith, we have peace with whom we follow. We can walk with steadfast feet because we believe that at the end of our journey, God has prepared everything for our good.

We are not following false gods and tyrants who do not care about us. We are entrusting a Father who loves us and who will never let us down.


Read The Bible In a Year

I’m currently listening to Day 9 of the Bible in a Year Podcast by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It’s truly a great blessing to be able to listen to these Bible verses with a brief reflection and prayer by Fr. Mike Schmitz.

You can find all the episodes at the following link: All Bible in a Year Episodes

You can also listen to the first episode below: