Richard Hamilton had his head screwed on right.

“Rip” as he was fondly called, was no.7 overall in the 1999 NBA draft, a 3 time All-Star, played 14 seasons and in one of those seasons winning a championship ring with the Detroit Pistons winning over a star studded LA Lakers cast led by Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neil, Gary Payton and Karl Malone.

After his jersey retirement a few days ago, watching his short speech reminded me of some of the things that matter the most. You can have an illustrious career and a fat paycheck, but the people that matter are right in your home.

Listen to a part of his speech during his jersey retirement at The Palace of Auburn Hills and you’ll know what I mean.

 

We are faced with a myriad of choices every single day – from what to eat for breakfast to what kind of coffee to order from Starbucks. Some choices are trivial, while others are tragic, if we make a mistake. Buying the wrong coffee drink is not as damaging compared to placing our money in the wrong investment.

But in making decisions, here’s a principle I’d like to share:

When values are clear, decisions are simpler.

Simpler doesn’t mean easier. But when our priorities are in place, then the decisions will be plain and straightforward.

Allow me to illustrate.

For me, family time is a clear value. Since the Christmas parties in Manila have started, how I wish I can attend all of them. There are many friends both from grade school and high school I haven’t seen in a long time. Relatives who are from out of town are setting up reunions left and right. Moreover, there are many parties from the different departments and ministries from the church.

But if I go to every one of them, that would mean, I would be out many nights in December. Advent nights would be missed, certain Christmas family traditions would be dropped, and dinner times with the kids would be compromised.

Another example is in the area of finances. If education is a value, then buying the new iPhone would come in second to paying your son’s tuition fee.

If relationship with God is a value, then spending the first moments after you wake up connecting with Him through His Word and prayer will be a priority rather than checking your Instagram or Twitter.

Simpler doesn’t mean easier. Saying no to friends’ Christmas parties is hard. Sticking with your jurassic Nokia 5110 (haha) instead of buying a new iPhone is torture. Stopping yourself from getting lost in the cyberworld early in the morning before connecting with Jesus is quite a challenge these days. But because the value is clear, then the decisions are simpler.

As we begin this week, may we remember our highest value – Jesus.
As Pastor Joey Bonifacio would say, “God who is the most valuable so valued you that He gave us Jesus, who is the most valuable to Him.”

And as we put Him first, remember what Proverbs 3:6 says, “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (TLB)

Have a great week!

 i

A couple from Shanghai was charged with the possibility of going to jail for many years after allegedly selling their baby daughter to buy an iPhone and other luxury items as reported by Yahoo.

While this news article is indeed shocking, I so appreciated Ryan Tan’s comment when he posted the news article on his Instagram.

“Before you judge, ask yourself: Am I “selling” my own kids for success, money, fame, convenience?”

He is absolutely right.

While as a parent, I may not be literally selling my kids to a buyer, it is possible that in my pursuit of career, financial gain, or maybe even ministry, I am already sacrificing my children in the altar of success.

This thought pushes me to think about a few things…

1. TIME

Do I spend most of my time for personal gain or maybe even on something world changing while neglecting moments of building life with my kids?

2. WORDS

Do my words build up or do they tear my kids down?

Worse, I don’t even speak to my kids to connect with them.

3. AFFECTION

Do I spend moments to tell them that they are valuable to me?
As an indication of that value, do I physically express my affection by giving them a high five, pat in the back or hug?

I often hear Joey Bonifacio’s voice and his proverbial “Dying Breath” visualization.

“When you are catching your last few breaths in your death bed, the ones who will be around you will not be your golfing buddies. They will be there an hour, maybe 2. It will not be your officemates nor your high school friends. It will be your spouse who has stayed with you all these decades. It will be your children who have been your source of joy for years. It will be your family who will be holding your hand in those last few moments on earth. With this in mind, guess who you should be investing your most precious moments with?”

Just a thought. A good one at that.