Put Your Hope In Christ (Not Christians)

Many years ago, I took up pottery.  I got my wheel, clay, and whatever tools were required to join the class.  We made different projects.  However, even after some time and many projects, my works were still nothing like my teacher’s. My output as a potter was not a reflection of how great a potter my teacher was.

In the same way, followers of Christ are not always like Him.

A former employee I had once told me she was disappointed because I correct mistakes right then and there instead of waiting for the whole evening’s work to be completed.  When I was angry, impatient, and not looking like Jesus, she was let down.  I had to explain to her that I am a follower of Jesus but an imperfect one (which the bible says we all are).  I am not Jesus.  He is the only one who is perfect worth putting hope in.

I had to ask her and my other employees not to judge God by my failure to follow Him.  I am just a Christian, I am not Christ.

What does the suffix “ian” of Christian stand for? I Am Nothing apart from Christ.  The fruit I bear is dependent on how closely I am abiding in Him, directly proportionate to how much I am surrendering to Him.

One day I told them, “when a woman is going through childbirth, don’t listen to every word she’s saying.” We just need to churn out the food properly and then we can relax.

Meanwhile, I asked God for help on how to pursue excellence without sinning in my anger. I don’t want to be a stumbling block for others to be drawn to Christ. By His grace, He has been allowing me to show my staff I love them so that they do not take personally when I am firm and exacting during the peak hours to drive our team to produce output that is of the highest standard we are capable of.  Praise God they are more and more aligning with me in understanding that we do not glorify God with sloppy work.  They are understanding that however “small” (there is no such thing as a small job when done for the Lord) they think their contribution is, when they offer their work to the Lord, it is a form of true worship for Him.  Whatever our hands, minds work on for His glory, we are offering them as living sacrifices as unto Him, not people.

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

God gives me humor to share with my staff during non-busy hours to help lighten the mood. Sometimes I ask them, “Ninenerbyos ka ba? Bakit, meron bang masungit dito? Sabihin mo sa akin!” (Are you nervous? Why? Is there someone grumpy here? Report that person to me, I will deal with her.)”

A kind culinary student from a prestigious cooking school abroad, Francis Sun, who volunteered to help me out for a week during his short Manila vacation told me that in culinary school, teachers would curse at them or hit them with pans or throw objects at them to prepare them for reality in the industry.  But this is not the thought I am to conform to  or be comfortable with. (By God’s grace I’ve never cursed or hit my employees). God holds believers to His, not the world’s standard.


One night after the fact,  I sat down my employee who put 300% more salt than what the recipe for our prized pasta sauce required (which I discovered forty minutes before our expected thirty guests came, before I had to cook big batches of Beef Salpicao and Garlic Smashed Potatoes which at that time didn’t have a written down recipe and I was just going to cook instinctively).

I explained the situation to her. She humbly accepted my correction and said, “pagbubutihin ko po sa susunod.( I will do better next time).”  I replied, “Alam ko. Alam ko kaya mo. ( I know. I know you can do it.)”  And indeed by God’s grace, she has stepped up to the plate and delivered great output, skill, and attitude.  (This tip I picked up from Deonna Tanchi, to think the best of people and to edify them which helps them live up to that expectation.)

I realized I myself was guilty of putting my hope in Christians rather than Christ.  I was so excited to add to my team the Christian applicant (the one who was disappointed in me) because during her interview, she said that she was passionate about leading other women to Christ.  I felt she would be such an asset to help other employees have a joyful and fruitful spiritual life.  There is no perfect employee (nor employer) and the little daily things like not responding to a “Good Morning” even after correction or sullenness after correction did not bother me.  But when one day she declared, “Today is my last day of work,” (knowing full well we would be derailed since we didn’t have time to look for a replacement for her), it was a reminder for me that I should be looking to Christ, not Christians.

But by God’s grace, after she left, the air molecules all over the shop have been more relaxed and everyone in the different teams has been having a collective good attitude and has been steadily improving.  We also got three more new employees who are all happy to be part of our team.  God was still the one who worked things out.

Pastor Peter Tanchi tells us in church, “Tell the person next to you, ‘I will disappoint you.'” and that is a reminder for all of us that we shouldn’t be putting our hope in people but only in Christ. We are to expect that people will disappoint; we will disappoint others, but Christ unites us, edifies us, gives us harmony even as we continue to be His imperfect works in progress created to give Him glory.

Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. loren lee says:

    hi Karen!

    Thank you for sharing this! Truly, our faith should be in Christ and not on Christians. We are imperfect and the Holy Spirit is continuously working in us so that we may be more and more Christ-like. I do think though that what you have written is also a good reminder for us Christians that we should strive to mirror Christ to those we work and deal closely with. We are called to set the bar high on how we conduct ourselves because we carry His name with us. We can be an inspiration to call people to the Lord or a turn off if we are not careful 🙂 thank you so much sharing this! It is a good reminder for me to be more careful on dealing/reprimanding our own employees because we are bearers of Christ’s name plate 🙂

    1. Indeed Loren I can be a stumbling block for others to be drawn to Christ. Praise God for the Holy Spirit’s conviction and the Word to direct me His way. Hopefully, people will have a mindset to follow Christ because of Who He is and what He’s done and not because of people’s (specially my) imperfect following Him. I’m committed to try my hardest but like the people in Jesus’s family album and the Bible’s gallery of people, it’s a relief to know that only Jesus is perfect, everyone else falls short but He uses the broken imperfect lives to point to Himself . “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
      ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬
      http://bible.com/111/2co.12.9.niv thanks for sharing in my journey!

      1. loren lee says:

        Amen to 2 Cor 12:9! Incidentally one of my favorite verses (currently my cellphone lock screen photo actually) 🙂 to reasasure me that our strength comes from Him alone.

        “it’s a relief to know that only Jesus is perfect, everyone else falls short but He uses the broken imperfect lives to point to Himself .” –thank you so much for saying this. 🙂 Truly He has used so many imperfect people in the Bible to show His greatness. And i pray that He continue to use you and me to do the same. 🙂 God bless you, Karen:)

      2. Wow praise God! We are on the same wavelength with this verse!:) amen to your prayer, Loren, may we progressively be reflections of His image to point other to Him!! May God bless you too!!… According to His glorious riches! 😉

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