Monday, November 18, 2002

My wife and I have always enjoyed going to a county fair together. But when we went to our most recent local county fair, we had an extra reason - a personal reason to enjoy it. There's one exhibit hall that is filled every year with various entries that have received awards; cooking entries, produce, sewing, art, photographs. Of course, they only display the ones that have been judged the best. But there was one unique display in that hall and that's the one we wanted most to see. Our daughter and son-in-law's church had a display of pictures that had been drawn by their four-year-old Sunday School kids. Each one had been asked to draw a picture of their family. And they displayed every one of those pictures, no matter how much of a Rembrandt or an un-Rembrandt they were. Our grandson is in that class. So, needless to say, we went looking for his picture in particular. And his picture had a blue ribbon on it. But, then, so did all the other pictures.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Blue Ribbon Performance."

What the church did was so cool - they gave every child a blue ribbon. They rewarded their effort, not their performance. That's how their Boss does rewards - not their pastor - their Master, Jesus. And if you've been feeling that you don't measure up, that you're a loser compared to some winners you know, you need to look at yourself through your Lord's eyes for a while and see what He sees when He looks at you.

Let's start by hearing His words in Colossians 3:23-24, where we find our word for today from the Word of God. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." So who are you working for? Your boss? Your pastor? The folks at church? The people you want to please? Well, you're looking the wrong direction for your approval and your rewards then. The Bible continues: "Working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

And aren't you glad He's the One whose in charge of your rewards? Maybe you're in an environment right now where a person's worth is based on their grades, or their looks, maybe their income, or their clothes, or their personality, or their performance. Thank God, He doesn't care about any of that stuff! His rewards are based on "Well done, good and faithful," not "Well done, good and successful."

And unlike life's "county fair" where the awards are based on comparing one to another, God doesn't compare you with anybody! He created a unique "you" with a unique plan for your life. So when you try to base how you're doing on how you compare with someone else - usually someone you think is better - you're playing it man's way, not God's way. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, "When they compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."

So you may be unappreciated here, but if you're faithful to your Lord, you're going to receive extravagant awards there. "You have been faithful with a few things," Jesus says, "I will put you in charge of many things." (Matthew 25:21) And God says, "Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Jesus is watching your faithful effort, no matter how it compares to someone else's. And He doesn't give anything but blue ribbons to every child who is simply faithful to Him ... who does whatever they do with all their heart.



Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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