Surprise: My Soulfood today isn’t too long. (Okay, it’s still 4 pages. But at least, it’s not my usual 10 pages!)
Because I have a very simple yet powerful message for you.
Today, I’d like to talk about the Season of Autumn.
Autumn represents ages 41 to 60.
I know I look like I’m 25 (at least, that’s what my friends tell me whenever I treat them out for lunch). But I’m actually turning 45 this July. (I’m shocked as you are.) So yes, I’m in the autumn of my life.
To me, autumn represents harvest.
My age is the age of reckoning.
At my age, I’m harvesting what I’ve planted all these past years—good or bad. The Bible says people will reap exactly what they sow(Galatians 6:8). If I planted good, I’ll be harvesting good. If I planted bad, I’ll be harvesting bad.
Today, I’d like to talk to those who are younger than me. My main message? Be careful with what you plant in your garden.
Here’s the truth: What you plant in your garden in your teens and twenties is what you’ll harvest in your forties and fifties and sixties…
Let me give you three examples:
1. Your body is a garden.
2. Your family is a garden.
3. Your finances are a garden.
1. Your Body Is A Garden
One day, I was talking to a priest.
He said he started smoking in the seminary. Ironically, he said it was the priests who taught him how to smoke. He started when he was 17 years old. And he smoked for the next 33 years. He usually finished 2 packs a day. When friends told him to stop, he’d say, “I’m a priest. I don’t have a woman in my life. Let me have my cigarette!”
But as the years went by, his “smoker’s cough” became very bad. When he hit 50, he finally stopped because his doctor told him that, “You have emphysema.”
But it was too late.
When I met him, he was in his fifties but he was like in his seventies. He couldn’t take a few steps without losing his breath. Many days, he couldn’t celebrate Mass anymore, because he wasn’t strong enough.
I felt so sad for this man.
If you’re young, I urge you to plant the right seeds in the garden of your body. Because you’ll be eating the fruits of what you planted.
Another example? Don’t ever make the mistake of saying, “I can eat what I want to eat. I’m young anyway.”
As I write this article, my mother is in the hospital. She was rushed there two days ago because she had difficulty breathing—because of phlegm in her breathing pipe. She’s much better now. But it made me realize how hard it is to make someone healthy if they’re already advanced in age.
Recently, I’ve taught my mother how to eat right. At my advice, she’s also avoiding meat and eating mostly vegetables now.
But her problem is that she’s already 86. Her body is already weak. Changing her diet now won’t make her healthy overnight. It won’t be easy to flush out all the toxins she’s ingested all these years. I wish we worked on her diet when she was 20 or 30 or 40 years old. (But I wasn’t yet alive!)
Because what you eat in your 20’s or 30’s will manifest in your body in your 40’s and 50’s and 60’s.
If you’re young today, I urge you to eat the right food nowwhile you’re young. Change into a healthy diet today! So that you’ll harvest health when you grow older.
The same principle works in your family life as well…
2. Your Family Is A Garden Too
I know of a guy who is exactly my age—45 years old.
Twenty years ago, he abandoned his wife and 3 kids for a younger woman. He just walked out of the house. Later on, he tried reconciling with his kids, but it was very difficult.
Today, he is reaping what he has sown. Some of his kids are all making the wrong choices, going with the wrong crowd.
I’m not saying that all broken families will produce broken kids. That’s not true. Some of my friends come from broken families, but God has healed them and they’re living very successful lives.
But I’m just pointing to a very important fact: Be careful with what you plant in the garden of your family life.
Yesterday, I visited Mom in the hospital. My three sisters were there. It was such a beautiful sight. We talked, we laughed, and we swapped stories with her.
She was surrounded by so much love!
Why? Because all her life, my mother planted love in her children’s hearts. She raised us up well. She spent time with us. And she’s now harvesting what she planted a long time ago.
My final example?
The principle works in your financial life too…
3. Your Finances Are A Garden
After my financial seminar, a 70-year old man said, “Bo, where were you when I needed you? Where were you 40 years ago?”
I said, “40 years ago, I was playing marbles and spider wrestling and patentero.”
He sighed, “Bo, I wish someone told me 40 years ago what you’re telling me now.”
The old man told me his sad story. He worked all his life and retired as manager of a huge food company. But he never saved. Using the language of my talk today, he never planted in his garden. Today, he is very poor. He can’t even buy his own medicines.
He also mentioned that his kids were very kind and always gave him money. But he just felt bad that he still bothers them for his needs.
When he left the seminar, his burning resolution was to bring his kids and grandkids to attend my seminar.
He was also telling me how struck he was when I explained (in the seminar) that my two boys, Bene and Francis—age 11 and 6—are now investing in the Stock Market. For example, though Francis isn’t earning yet, he invests the Christmas money gifts from his Ninangs and Ninongs (godparents) into his Stocks. If he keeps it up, he’ll be a millionaire when he reaches 18. My kids are planting very early. And their harvest will be bigger.
Friend, you need to plant early in the garden of your finances.
Teach your kids to invest.
Plant financial literacy into their lives.
Let me say it again: Be careful with what you plant in the garden of your life!
May your dreams come true,