Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A sobering thought

Two days ago I was confronted with a question that dug deep into my heart: do I study to glorify myself or to glorify God?

My Comm 3 instructor was rattling off instructions and guidelines for the impromptu and extemporaneous speeches, while my mind was far away, looking beyond and inside me, all at the same time. We had been asked to submit a topic for the extemporaneous speech during the previous meeting, and I actually had the entire weekend left to myself to think about it. And I did.

The instruction was that we’d talk about ourselves—anything and everything under the sun, really, as long as it was about us, and as along as we could keep it interesting. I had many options: I could speak about the central dogma of molecular biology and how it applies to university students like us, I could talk on blogging and the joys I derive from it, I could even talk about literature and how effective it is at lulling most people to sleep.

But Tuesday came and I still hadn’t finalized anything. What topic would best describe me? What topic do I want to talk about?

So, dear readers, picture me there, inside the classroom at the backseat, looking outside the window, praying to God for wisdom even in matters like this. And then it hit me: why not speak about the Gospel?

I really wanted to, but I had many concerns: the teacher may brand it too religious, and therefore inappropriate for a secular institution like UP; my actions would be limited, and I wouldn’t be able to use my creative juices in making props and other stuff; my grade might plummet because the audience’s interest may not be sustained.

So I had to reevaluate myself: do I study to glorify myself or to glorify God? It was essentially a choice between the two. Do I speak for Him or for the grade and my classmates’ approval?

By God’s grace, I was able to make the right choice. I wrote down in a piece of paper the title of the speech, Life Through Death, and the specific speech purpose: to inform my Comm3 classmates of the Gospel message that radically changed my life. I figured, if the teacher disapproved of it, I still had a back-up topic which was on blogging.

So there I was in the queue, waiting for my turn to give the teacher the piece of paper bearing my topic. When it was my turn, she read both topics, pointed to the first one, and said, “Is this your first choice?”

“Yes, Ma’am, it is.”

She smiled, encircled it, and affixed her signature. Approved. To God alone be the glory. May He sustain me as I prepare the speech plan, the outline, and my heart.

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