16 September, Wednesday — Ambition

Wednesday of Week 24 in Ordinary Time

1 Cor 12:31-13:13
Lk 7:31-35

Be ambitious for the higher gifts.

We’ve just concluded a 4-week retreat via Zoom with my spiritual director, who conducted it for just over 20 of us from my ministry. Well, it wasn’t 4 whole weeks but just one session a week, where we all met online to reflect on certain phrases and to listen to God speaking within us. It was truly a spirit-filled time for me throughout the four weeks, as I sought out ‘quiet time’ during the weeks and days. It was during this period when I surprised myself a little, by dealing with three resignations and a host of other work-related issues. The calmness that overwhelmed me as the situations unfolded must have been due to God’s grace — I have consciously been ‘hands-off’ with many operational aspects of work lately and aspiring to deal with more strategic matters.

As a result, I was invited to attend a Board retreat last week — I was the only HOD in attendance. I believe it is a testimony to my recent efforts to avoid being perceived as a ‘doer’ and more of a ‘thinker’, therefore bringing more value to the senior management in this new phase of my development. After 10 years, I think it is only fair that I share all my experiences fully, especially with new members of senior management on board. So my ‘ambition’ now is to be a well of institutional knowledge and source of inspiration for my peers, the numbers of which continue to grow. For where knowledge is now imperfect, it is my role to fill the gaps.

In today’s first reading, Paul extols for us to aim high, so that he can then show us a way that is much better. And certainly, as we all go back to some semblance of ‘normal’, I have been blessed with ‘gifts’ of time and true kinship from valued friends. From work colleagues to ministry members, we have been meeting those who ‘add value’ to our lives — however each of us wants to define it. I must admit that over the past few months, I have managed to forge more meaningful relationships with a few colleagues (in spite of the fact that we have actually cut down our face to face interactions), and removed a few toxic staff from the team — they resigned when they realised they were not getting anywhere further.

And while I was sad to see them leave, I believe that the fresh blood that is coming in will galvanise and rejuvenate the team. Just as how the time I have spent cleaning up a neglected portion of my house has rekindled interest and sparked new life in the area. Today, it has become my little corner, where I invite a select few to come and share their precious time with me. These interactions have helped me learn to be more accepting of others, and to appreciate what I have a lot more.

Brothers and sisters, there is no higher gift than the gift of God’s love, which can manifest in many different ways. What we need is a good dose of humility, trust and the ability to ‘let go’ of any hurts, grudges, bitterness or judgement. Only then can we be an open channel for God’s graces to flow through us and to those we encounter, whether at home, at work or in church. I urge every one of us to aim as high as we possibly can, in spite of our current situations, and be ambitious for God’s gifts.       

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Abba Father, we pray for the courage to be bold in faith and to take the big steps needed as we journey towards you. Show us your mercy and love as we stumble and fall. Give us the fortitude to believe in you and in your everlasting love.

Thanksgiving:  Thank you, Lord, for always loving us in spite of our sinful nature.

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