Marshmallow

Last week, during cell group meeting, Chee Wei split everyone into groups and gave everyone a little task.

Each group was given dried spaghetti sticks, a long string, a roll of tape, and a marshmallow. The objective was to create the highest free-standing structure using the given materials, with the marshmallow at the top of the structure.

Everyone worked hard at the foundations, joining a lot of spaghetti sticks together to build a very strong base before slowly progressing to the top, and finally tried to balance the marshmallow at the top of the tower.

It seemed like the most logical thing to do but many of us failed at getting the structure to support the marshmallow even though the structure was able to stand freely on its own.

Chee Wei surprised us when he said that the same task was given to kindergarten kids. They, on the other hand, took out the marshmallow right at the beginning of the game. Their focus was on the marshmallow, and they joined the spaghetti sticks to the marshmallow to support its weight and extended its height from there. If it failed to support, they would try again and again until it finally could.

I did some reflections and felt that we are all ruined by our own education. Education taught us to always set a firm foundation before building anything else on it. Education taught us that a strong base is extremely important and should not be neglected. Education has limited us.

The kindergarten kids, on the other hand, having received little from the education system, they were allowed to freely roam and express their creativity. Hence, they were able to successfully build a tall free-standing structure which was able to support the marshmallow, because their focus was on the marshmallow and not the spaghetti sticks.

It’s true that education is important, but we should not let it limit our thinking.
For an example, a person who is highly education in Science, it is difficult for him to understand that God gives us dreams and visions. To him, the more logical explanation would be that we are just hallucinating.

The point is, children may not be as smart and wise, but they are not limited in their thinking and creativity, and that allows them to set their focus on the right things.

No wonder Jesus tell us to have child-like faith, because children will never see anything as impossible.

Resurrection

We are, afterall, human.
We are imperfect. We all make mistakes and we all have experienced failures.

Mistakes often fill us with regret and failures make us feel inadequate.
For some of us, whenever we think and reflect upon our mistakes, it causes us to hate ourselves and feel that we are undeserving of God’s love.

But every disappointment can be a new appointment.

Our mistakes and failures should not mark the end of the road.
Instead, they depict new beginnings.
A new beginning, a new learning experience, a new stepping stone.

The miracle is not that Jesus died.
The miracle is that Jesus died and resurrected.

Mistakes and failures may drag you down, but make a decision to turn them around.
Get back up and come back stronger.

Don’t ever give up after a mistake, or after 2 mistakes, or even after 3 mistakes.
Give yourself a second chance.

And a 2nd second chance.
Or even a 3rd second chance.

Because that’s what the cross is all about.

Value Systems

Here’s something I learnt recently.

People can have the same interests and values, eg. Family, Career, Health etc.
And because they share the same interests, it is easy for them to get together and fall in love.

But,

Although they may have the same values, they prioritize their values differently.

For guys, probably Career > Family > Health
For ladies, probably Family > Health > Career

And because of this clash in value systems, that’s when the conflict arise in relationships.

Then again, as we grow older, we would want different things in life.

A guy in his 30s would probably prioritize Career > Family > Health.
But for a guy in his 60s, it would be something like Family > Health > Career.

Law of The Few

Just think about it.

80% of the world’s income is controlled by 20% of the world’s population.
80% of the work done in any company is only from 20% of the staff.
80% of the sales in any business are only from 20% of the clients.
80% of all computer crashes are caused by 20% of the most reported bugs.
80% of the time, we wear are 20% of our favourite clothes.

In all events, roughly 80% of its effects come from 20% of its causes.

I learnt this from The Tipping Point and I did a little search on Google, and I learnt something new today!

The value of the Pareto Principle for a manager is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 percent that matters. Of the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter. Those 20 percent produce 80 percent of your results. Identify and focus on those things. When the fire drills of the day begin to sap your time, remind yourself of the 20 percent you need to focus on. If something in the schedule has to slip, if something isn’t going to get done, make sure it’s not part of that 20 percent.

Battles

The greatest battles of all time are not fought on land, air, or water. In fact, they are actually fought within the human body itself, between the two greatest opposing forces: the heart and the mind.

I don’t know how many other people face this, but I always have difficulties deciding whether to listen out to my heart or my mind.

The heart is guided by emotion and it always cries out its desires to do something that doesn’t make any sense at all. It just wants to do it, and once the desired result is achieved, though it may not be anything big or difficult, but just seeing it happen would bring loads of happiness and delirium.

The mind, on the other hand, is a soft subtle voice that always prefers something else. The mind makes decisions based on facts and common sense. It takes a lot of external factors into consideration which the heart totally ignores. (Eg. Time, money.) The mind, being very rational, always brings back the bad memories of past mistakes to remind the heart that it isn’t worth making the same mistake again.

If you are expecting a solution for this, I am sorry because I think there is nothing we can do about it. There is no way we can change how our heart and our mind works. They are meant to function this way.

I guess that’s why people in love always appear foolish and stupid, because they are always doing things that will never make any sense to other people who are watching them.

Chasing Donkeys

This afternoon, I was suddenly reminded of this story in 1 Samuel 9-10.

Kish’s donkeys had strayed away and he instructed his son, Saul, to go out and find them. Saul obeyed his father’s instruction and went out together with 1 of the servants. They travelled over mountains and lands but could not find the donkeys. They travelled so much that Saul knew if he didn’t return back home, then his father would be sending people to start looking for him. However, the servant, who was with Saul, suggested that they should check with the ‘local church pastor’ first.

Then both of them travelled to the city where the pastor (Samuel) was. Unknown to the both of them, God had previously spoke to Samuel about their arrival and instructed Samuel to anoint Saul.

As Saul and the servant went before Samuel, Samuel assured them that the donkeys have been found and from there, he anointed Saul as king.

I am very encouraged by this story because we can actually learn a lot from it.

Firstly, obedience will take us to the place of opportunity.
Saul first obeyed his father’s instruction to go forth to look for the donkeys. He could have disobeyed and instead, stayed at home to play his Xbox or PS3 right?

Secondly, while Saul was chasing donkeys, God was actually preparing him to hit an intersection where opportunity is, at the right place and the right time.
Opportunity is not all about luck, it is a divine orchestration of events because God will always intervene and provide the best!

Thirdly, we can chase donkeys too.
Chasing donkeys is just fulfilling our everyday responsibilities to the best of our abilities. Some people miss their opportunity because they see it as work, but in our case, doing more work increases our opportunities.

Opportunity is hidden in the mundane.
Don’t stop chasing donkeys!

40stripes.com

Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.