True Corporation Public Company Limited (TRUE) happens to be a huge communication conglomerate in Thailand. TRUE operates the country’s largest cable TV provider, largest ISP internet service and the third largest mobile phone service. They also have a partnership with Verizon, who most of us are familiar with.
Recently, TRUE made a commercial called ‘Giving.’ The message of the commercial is believing in the power of giving without expecting anything in return. The commercial has been receiving rave reviews from all over the world. Grab a tissue and watch.
After watching the commercial, I was curious to find out exactly what the predominant religion of Thailand is. I discovered that the Thai national religion is Theravada Buddhism. It is a mixture of Buddhism, ancient Hindu, some animism and ancient ancestor worship. That’s when it dawned on me that the message of the video, most likely Theravada Buddhist in inspiration, puts America’s Christians to shame.
In addition to loving God with all your heart, soul and spirit, loving one another is perhaps one of the most important aspects of Christianity. I don’t mean loving one another as our secular society would portray it, but to love one another sacrificially as Christ loved us. Christ gave everything including His life for us because he loves us. Christians should be willing to give sacrificially to others as well.
Not long ago, my wife and I were out of work and in danger of losing everything we owned. A couple of friends and former co-workers gave us several thousand dollars to help keep our house and pay bills until we could find jobs. The only thing they asked was to pay it forward. We’re now on our feet and have helped out others as they helped us. I don’t know if they gave sacrificially, but they gave in our time of dire need and expected nothing in return and we are forever grateful to them for their help.
It reminds me of the true account of William (Billy) Borden, heir to the Borden family business. Born in 1887, Billy grew up surrounded by the wealth of his family’s business. He graduated from Yale University in 1909 and then attended Princeton Theological Seminary. At age 25, and against his family’s wishes, Billy felt called to be a missionary to the Muslims in northern China. In doing so, he renounced his family’s fortune and accepted the meager life of a missionary. He traveled to Egypt for his training and while there, he contracted cerebral meningitis and died.
After his death, his few belongings were shipped back to his parents. When they opened up his Bible, they found were Billy had written ‘No Reserve’ and dated it at the time he gave up his family’s wealth. Then Billy had written ‘No Retreat’ and dated it just after his father told him he would never allow Billy to work in the family business because of his decision to be a missionary. Finally, Billy wrote ‘No Regrets’ shortly before he died. Billy’s epitaph reads:
“A man in Christ He arose and forsook all and followed Him, Kindly affectioned with brotherly love, Fervent in spirit serving the Lord, Rejoicing in hope, Patient in tribulation, Instant in prayer, Communicating to the necessity of saints, In honour preferring others, Apart from faith in Christ, There is no explanation for such a life.”
Billy sacrificed everything for his calling to serve Christ and expected nothing in return. Yet his story has inspired countless numbers of others to enter the mission field. A book was later written about the life of William (Billy) Borden called No Retreats, No Reserves, No Regrets and is excellent reading.
I was also reminded of some of the families I’ve seen on Extreme Home Makeover over the past few years. Several families were giving so much to those in need that their own homes were literally falling apart around them, but they didn’t stop giving through it all. In some of the cases, it was the people they helped that contacted the show and got them to come and build the family a new home. Those families were rewarded for sacrificially giving to others at the cost of their own wellbeing.
Some Christians in America do live up to this and they generally are involved in some sort of missions work providing meals, housing, clothing, medicine, etc. to the needy. But by enlarge, most of the people in America today who call themselves Christians rarely give sacrificially to those in need, without any concern of getting it back.
What I see in the vast majority of Christians in America today is that they are not willing to give sacrificially to help others. They are more concerned with their own needs and comforts than they are about the needs of others. The lesson presented in the video commercial, most likely created by Buddhists, shames most American Christians and should be a wakeup call for us to help each other. If America’s Christians lived a true Christian life and gave sacrificially, we would have little need for all of the government welfare, food stamps and other assistance programs.
Let me ask you, when was the last time you gave sacrificially to help someone in need? Are you willing to give up your time in front of the TV to spend with someone who is alone or needs help with their house and yard work? Are you willing to take some of your clothes and give them to others who are cold or can’t afford to buy their own? Are you willing to give of your profits, as the owner of the restaurant in the Thai commercial to help those who are hungry? Are you willing to take an elderly person to the doctor and stay there with them because they have no one else to turn to?
Take a moment to honestly reflect on the video commercial, what I’ve asked and on Mark 12:41-44:
“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’”
Who do you think will be rewarded more in heaven, those that gave out of their abundance or the widow who gave sacrificially?