Enduring Rejection and Failures

Last week was one of the most grueling experience that the special mission team had in recent memory. They stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, even smiling and laughing even with sleeplessness and inconvenience. As each day of that week is done, most opted not to go home but stayed in the Board Room to sleep the night, away from family and comfort. Throughout the week, they were determined, focused, and true to what they were created for. With their efforts, the entire organization became victorious and is determined to continue with the same relentless spirit that drove everyone to excel. The journey isn’t over yet, it is just beginning to unfold.

When I was a young engineer based in Mandaue, the Plant Manager at that time requested that my next essay on the company newsletter be about “Going the Extra Mile”. As I proceeded with the task, I learned then that in life, when we become committed and passionate about what we are doing, we stop counting the hours, and are willing “to go the extra mile”. Whether this is for work, family, and friends.

There are times though, that going the extra mile isn’t as easy as it seems. An example is the case of Jesus in the Gospel, when, after being successful in preaching the Good News to other towns and villages, He went to His native place and began to teach in the synagogue. However, the people took offense at Him, since Jesus is someone they know, and he’s just “a carpenter”. Instead of welcoming Him, they didn’t believe in what He was saying. This hindered Jesus’ capacity to perform miracles for His townspeople.

Just like Jesus, we will be faced with rejection even from family and friends. We realize that the most difficult to bring to the faith are those very close to us. The Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a family of highly successful Internet-based businesses; once said, “When selling to close friends and family, no matter how much you’re selling to them, they will always feel you’re earning their money, no matter how cheap you sell to them, they still wouldn’t appreciate it. There will always be people who do not care about your costs, time, effort, they’d rather let other people cheat them, allowing others to earn, than supporting someone they know. Because in their heart, they will always be thinking, ‘How much did he earn from me?’ instead of “How much did he save/make for me?”

When faced with this attitude, we have to go the extra mile to bring our message across. We have to find our way and not allow indifference to win. We have to explore other means. We can’t allow the enemy to defeat us just like that. At the end of the day, we take comfort in the thought that even our Lord and Savior Jesus had failures and rejections. What made it more painful is the fact that these rejections came from His own people, His fellow Israelites, the religious and elite classes of society, and even some of His disciples.

As we go on our mission, let us pray that the Holy Spirit remind us, that even with difficulties and challenges, we remain awake and humble to the fact, that our faith is both a gift and a responsibility.

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