Return to Sender

We have all probably gotten some mail back at some point in our lives that has a stamp on it saying “RETURN TO SENDER”.   Perhaps the person doesn’t live their anymore, or perhaps we just wrote down the wrong address.  One way or another the destination was wrong and the delivery couldn’t be made.

As believers we have a sender in fact, we have the entire Trinity involved in our earthly destinations.  The apostle Paul wrote about it in the first few verses of his letter to the Galatians when he said “Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead…”  A few chapters later he writes “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Paul knew exactly who selected the destination and he knew who would be assisting in the delivery.

The Lord doesn’t make mistakes when he chooses the destination address that he has chosen for you.  The only thing that can mess up the delivery is if we resist His leading in our lives (see Jonah).  Let us be yielded to the Lord’s leading and make sure we are delivering His truth and love.  Neither rain, nor snow, nor stubbornness, nor pride, nor unloving attitudes, etc… shall keep us our appointed rounds!

In Christ…

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Is your “well done” well done?

Every year a committee at my company gets together and after a great deal of effort and investigation they select an employee to be given a very special recognition.  The award is given to an employee whose performance and behavior is truly exceptional both in their job/role as well as in their personal character.  The award was established many years ago in the memory of a terrific employee who tragically lost his life in a head-on collision with a moose.  There is a similar but separate award that recognizes a noteworthy high performing team each year.  The process of determining who will be selected for the individual award consists of soliciting for nominations, conducting interviews, and many hours of deliberation.  It was a tremendous honor to have served on the individual award committee this year as it was an opportunity to get to know many dedicated, talented, and high performing coworkers.

After many months of work, today I had the privilege of giving the good news to this year’s individual award recipient on behalf of the committee.  It was a pleasure to tell them that they had done an truly incredible job and that many other people were of the same opinion.

Of course God does not waste special “events” like these in our lives.  The whole process reminded me of our lives as children of God and the day we look forward to, when we will stand before our Lord longing to hear him say “Well done good and faithful servant…”  There were several insights that came to mind as I considered this whole experience.

First, being the one that got to meet with this individual and recognize their efforts, I was reminded of how God delights in us when we have done the best job we can in obedience to Him.  It was a true delight and privilege for me to tell someone that they had done an excellent and amazing job and I thought of how I long for my Lord to be delighted.  I want to stand before Him and have Him say with great delight “Well done good and faithful servant.”  I want Him to be delighted but not for my benefit or self-promotion, but because in His delight He is glorified, honored, and blessed.

Another insight came to mind as I considered the response of this year’s winner when given the news.  In keeping with their character, they asked, “Are you sure this isn’t for the team award?  There are a lot of other folks on this team that help make all these results happen!”  They didn’t want it to be about themselves, rather they wanted others to be recognized for their efforts as well.  Now I realize that we are going to stand before the Lord alone and be evaluated based on what we have done for Him, but consider this…what if we earnestly sought out opportunities to encourage others to live, serve, and grow in the life that God wants while we are serving here together, so that when they stand before the Lord there will be immeasurable delight for the Lord for what they have done as well?  What if you and I were more interested and excited about each other and not primarily in our own recognition when we stand before the Lord?   In Hebrews 10:24-25 it says “…let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  In Philippians 2:3-4 it says “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  I have every confidence to believe that if were we to be busy with that kind of encouragement and concern for each others interests, that the Lord would be abundantly delighted, and His name glorified!

One other thing grabbed my attention when I shared the news with this individual.  Initially, the individual was speechless when they heard the news.  There was this look of shock and surprise as they were processing the recognition and honor that they had been given.  I later wondered how I might react to that kind of news in the workplace.  Would I be humble?  Proud?  Puzzled?  This individual clearly didn’t expect to be recognized for this award and I expect it was probably the furthest thing from their mind when they came to the office today.  When we stand before the Lord and are given praise from the Lord himself saying “well done good and faithful servant…“, how will we respond?  The only proper response will be to do as the Elders will do as recorded in Revelation 4:11 and we will take any praise or recognition given to us, any crowns or rewards, and give them right back to Him for He alone is deserving of all glory and praise.

With all of that in my mind I was once again reminded of a verse that hangs over my desk.  The verse is Colossians 3:23-24 and it reads “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Our King deserves our very best each and every moment of every day.  May he delight in all that we do both now and forever more.