He is a soldier, statesman, businessman, philanthropist, pro basketball player, and one of the best pound-for-pound boxers of all time. The man is Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines. He is the only person in boxing history to hold championships in eight different weight classes. Four of these championships are in the classic weight divisions of Flyweight (112 lbs.), featherweight (126 lbs.), Lightweight (130 lbs.), and Welterweight (147 lbs.). It’s also true that he is the second highest-paid athlete in the world.
Yet Manny’s roots were very humble. He grew up in abject poverty, sleeping on a bed of cardboard and knowing hunger throughout his childhood. At the age of fourteen he left home so as not to be a burden to his mother and five siblings. He lived on the streets in Manila where he learned to fight. When he was sixteen Manny turned professional and rapidly climbed the ranks to achieve world-wide fame.
And what did Manny do with his fame and fortune? He devoted himself to public service and became a senator. But Manny was not one to use public office to enrich himself. He did the very opposite. He donated millions of dollars to help the poorest people of his country. One of his most notable acts was to build 1,000 homes for the people of his hometown – all out of his own pocket.
What is the driving force in Manny’s life? It is his faith in God. Although raised as a devout Catholic, Manny experienced a life-changing encounter with God a few years ago. He realized that God had blessed him so that he could be a blessing to others.
Naturally, his commitment to Jesus Christ and to the teachings of the Bible has drawn a storm of criticism from the media – despite his many charitable deeds. His stand against homosexuality and same-sex marriages brought a storm of condemnation from many of the popular culture’s elite. He also lost lucrative endorsement contracts. Yet despite the persecution, Manny has remained true to his convictions.
Jesus warned us that one of the rewards for following Him would be persecution in this life (Matthew 10:16-39; John 15:18-25). If someone as beloved and generous as Manny Pacquiao drew condemnation for standing up for his biblical beliefs, we’ll face persecution as well. Jesus said, “A slave is not above his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20). But do not cave to the world’s condemnation and pressure. “For the world is passing away along with all its lusts. But whoever does the will of God shall live forever” (1 John 2:17).
Dear Father in heaven, please fortify my faith and my commitment to serve You. When the world condemns and persecutes me for my Christian witness, help me to look beyond this world to the rewards of heaven. Grant, O Lord, that I will seek to be pleasing to You rather than to people. Amen.
Information from: http://allthatsinteresting.com/manny-pacquiao-builds-homes;