This is our recent series at Victory Christian Fellowship
Utang na Loob
OPM (Original Pinoy Mindset) Series: Utang na Loob (Debt of Gratitude).
Utang na loob or Debt of Gratitude is defined as returning a favor in an acceptable manner.
The Pinoy Utang na loob culture originally dates back in the pre-hispanic times, in direct association to hospitality and gratitude, qualities which Filipinos are widely- known to possess. Sociologists say that 60% of our values is hinged on hospitality and gratitude. However, during the colonial times, because of the Filipinos’ need to survive, provide for their families, and as a means to get ahead, this culture has evolved into an extension of a favor to earn something in return.
There are two facets of Utang na loob: The Giver and the Receiver. The Giver expects something in return, while the Receiver is trapped with the feeling of wanting to return the favor.
The book of Ruth offers a different perspective on Utang na loob:
(Read Ruth 2:1-12.)
“Boaz replied, ‘I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband- how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” Ruth 2: 11-12.
Naomi is the widow of Elimelech, a man from Bethlehem of Judah who went to live in Moab with his wife and children during a time of famine. Elimelech and his sons died, leaving their wives behind. Naomi traveled back to Bethlehem with Ruth, one of her daughters-in-law who was determined not to be separated from Naomi at all cost.
Boaz came from the tribe of Elimelech. He was a kinsman redeemer, a relative who would marry the widow of a relative. Naomi knew of Boaz’s relation to her husband and has sent Ruth to pick up leftover grain at one of his fields.
Boaz recognized the favor that Ruth has extended to Naomi (Ruth 2:16; Ruth 1:16), his response was “May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” Ruth 2:12.
This means that:
1. God will be the one to repay us when we are compelled to give. Boaz extended favor toward Ruth out of a heart of generosity.
2. It is God whom we must depend on for trust, security, hope, and for our future and refuge. Boaz gave to Ruth without expecting anything in return.
“and lend to them without expecting to get anything back” Luke 6: 35b.
“So when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” Matthew 6:3.
When we do not have the biblical perspective of generosity, in our time of need, our tendency is to find our security in the people that we’ve helped instead of depending on our God.
Joseph made a mistake of depending on the cupbearer whom he had helped for his freedom from imprisonment and injustice (Genesis 40:14-15). He ended up spending two more years in prison.
“And be thankful” Colossians 3:15.
As Receivers, the bible urges us to always be thankful. However, we must learn to draw the line of thankfulness. If we are to compromise our values, belief system, sidestep legal, ethical, and moral boundaries, or if we are to thread in the line of sin, it is no longer being thankful, but a FALSE BURDEN (Genesis 4:27).
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” Luke 6:36.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” John 13: 34.
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7 AMP.
Let us change our mindset on Utang na loob from Indebtedness to Gratitude. The good that we do to others must be a reflection of the good that God has done for us. As Receivers, we must understand that there are certain favors that cannot be quantified, and we leave to God to repay those who have blessed us, while we remain thankful.
WE MUST DEPEND ON GOD AND NOT MAN, WHETHER WE ARE THE GIVER OR THE RECEIVER.**