Let me end the year with an edited excerpt of my regular column, Big Little People, published yesterday in The Freeman, the daily newspaper of Philippine Star in Cebu.
I started writing this bi-weekly column at the same time I started blogging. It’s been eight years and yesterday, my 200th column saw print.
Two months back, when I was in Cebu for a book talk, I met the talented staff behind the section where my column appears. They so kindly put together this write-up, a gesture I will forever treasure.
The number 200 is neither interesting nor popular. Unlike 100 which speaks of perfection—the highest score one can receive in an examination or a school card—200 is neither here nor there.
But today, I think the number 200 is special because this is my 200th column!
In my first column entitled "One Very Special Interest,” I wrote about the importance of reading. So 200 articles later, today, I hope I have encouraged at least 200 kids to read. Then that would be 200 reasons to jump with joy!
In the Bible we find in John 6 a wonderful story about the number 200.
Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and a large crowd of people followed Him. They had earlier seen signs that He was healing the sick and that convinced them to seek this Man who could do such miracles.
Together with His disciples, Jesus saw the crowd coming toward Him. He asked Philip, “Where may we buy bread so that these people may eat?”
Philip was appalled. Where would they get the money to buy bread to feed 5,000 people?! He replied, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”
In those days, one denarius was equivalent to a penny, a one-day wage for a laborer. Two hundred denarii then would be 200 pennies, equivalent to the pay of two hundred laborers in one day. Today, that would be worth more than half a million pesos!
In the crowd was a boy who had five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus took them and after giving thanks in prayer to God, He multiplied the bread and fish to feed all the men, women and children—as much as they wanted—and there was so much leftover!
I see the number 200, then, as a symbol of sufficiency. Even if we think we don’t have enough, just as Philip did, God fills up the insufficiency.
My header changes at the end of the year to welcome the sufficient grace that will deluge us in the New Year, 2015.