Wednesday, October 8, 2008
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Over many years of flying commercially, I really learned to like those frequent flyer miles, you know, that they give to high mileage passengers. You know, it's getting a little tougher with those, but I'll tell you what, I think it was a great idea. When it was time to book another flight, I didn't have to think twice about which airline I'd try first. I would just stick to the one particular airline. And you know what? I'm not even going to do free advertising for them. Unless the schedule or the fare was out of line, I'd go with that airline. Why? I'm just a loyal kind of guy? No. Because they credited me with mileage awards that convert into discounts, upgrades, and free trips. That bonus incentive really succeeded in getting me to stay with one carrier. It worked on millions of other flyers like me, as well. It's a pretty good system - the biggest rewards are for those who stick with the same carrier.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want A Word With You today about "The Rewards of Not Moving."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Hebrews 10:35-36. "Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what was promised." Notice the principle here about your relationship with God, about so many areas of your life: "Persevere so that you will receive." This was originally addressed to people whose commitment to Christ was being tested by some very hard times. Times that might make it tempting to change carriers. But God says, "The rewards are for those who stay put." If you fly with Jesus some of the time but don't stay with Him, you will miss His wonderful rewards that are reserved for those who persevere with Him.
That "persevere so you will receive" principle applies to many areas of your life. It's sure true of marriage, for example. Today, many people make a commitment to fly the rest of their life with one person, but one day they start getting restless, they get frustrated, they look at what seems to be greener grass on the other side.
My wife and I have enjoyed a lot of years together. I'll tell you, as millions of others would, that the best of married love and friendship and intimacy isn't in the passionate days of courtship - the honeymoon - it comes from the long years of weathering storms together, facing problems, praying through situations, learning each other's languages of love. One day the sun rises on a deep trust, a belonging, a sense of safety that you can only know by staying with the same partner. It's a joy and love that the bailer-outers will never know. You persevere; you receive the reward.
I've seen the same principle at work in ministry. People who jump from place to place never know the tremendous payoff of sticking it out in one place. There's a harvest that comes only through patient, persevering work. So often the jumpers leave just before the real harvest starts to come. They put in the work, but they don't get to see the bonuses because they change carriers before they hit the reward level.
This persevering payoff is about friendship, too, the great rewards of being someone's friend come from staying with that friend no matter what and not changing friends all the time. The principle applies to making a commitment to a cause and sticking with it; to seeing a job through. But most important of all, it's a key to following Christ patiently, stubbornly, every day even when it's tempting to leave Him for another loyalty. The songwriter captured it beautifully, "The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows."
Stay with the one you started with. You'll love the rewards that belong to the ones that do.