or not show up...
or be late constantly...
and you think, "...why do people do that?"
"and if they do why don't they at least call to warn you?..."
"How do they live so last minute?"
"How do they hold down a job?"
and then you think, "I don't do that...I've never done that..."
And you start getting irritated and mulling over in your mind the reasons why people do those things and how you would have to have to be on your death bed or at least have a heart attack before you did that. Well, I found myself sliding into that thought pattern I've had so often, on Sunday. And as quick as I began to digress into that line of thinking, the Lord said to me, "but you are special."
To whom much is given, much is required. People live at different levels, depending upon the commitment to faithfulness and excellence one is willing to make.
I have list of faults a mile long, but by golly, I'm as faithful as the day is long. If I'm not where I say I'm going to be when I say I'm going to be, giving 100% to whatever it is we're doing, call 9-1-1, because something is really wrong. You need to be ALARMED.
So on Sunday, God as my witness, when I started to get a little irritated around the edges over a few people not doing things exactly as they were supposed to, I heard the voice of God in my head say, "but you are special..." and I said, "what do you mean, Lord?" And He said back to me, you were chosen as a steward and have been faithful to your tasks, so therefore I keep giving you more, but some people will never know that in their lives." 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, "Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful."
God reminded me - everyone has a calling to faithfulness and excellence but all do not necessarily fulfill that call. Neither do they receive some of the blessings that that others do who are faithful. Although I realize there is nothing we are ever given in life without the grace and mercy of God, I do also believe that how much we receive often depends on our faithfulness to the Lord and to others. As Pastor Craig Sloan says, they must be "positioned for greatness." Positioning yourself involves many things but I would say at the top of the list would be faithfulness, dedication and a passion for excellence. One must make calculated decisions to arrive at the destination you desire. You must be positioned for greatness.
I've heard it said, "always do your best ~ then let God do the rest." Please note, there's a huge "rest" that you and I could never accomplish on our own, yet we must do our BEST! (or why in the world should God do the rest if he knows we don't care enough to do our best?) The point is, some people don't care much about doing their best. But some do. And those who do, I believe are special people.
Take for instance, the fact that sometimes church members move away. They get transferred. If you are the pastor saying goodbye to an excellent church member, it's so depressing. If you are the pastor getting a great church member who is transferring you are doing the happy dance. Usually when one of these "gems" or "winners" as my hubby calls them, comes to your church and decide to make it "home' you get a call or letter from their former pastor saying, "hey, just want to give you a heads up, these folks are SPECIAL." And you make a note of that. When Alex and Aida Rivera came to our church, we got letters from not only their pastor but some other ministry leaders from their former place in New Jersey saying, "hey...just to let you know you are getting a great blessing...these folks are SPECIAL!!!" Well, Larry and I didn't fall off the ministry turnip truck yesterday. We knew right away we had a great blessing and the Riveras were able to become leaders at our church very quickly based upon their former years of dedication, faithfulness and excellence at their church in NJ. Bro. Alex has absolutely turned our Royal Ranger ministry around and it the gift we prayed for for years.
These type of "special people" get God's attention but they also get their leader's attention. I believe as we do our best, God shows up on the scene and blesses us. I Chronicles 16:9 tell us that He's always looking for those whose hearts are fully toward Him (faithful) and that he will strongly support and endorse those individuals. I don't know about you, but I want that more than anything!
Florence Littauer has a book, It Takes So Little To Be Above Average. I believe this is true (it does take so little) because most people do the bare minimum or less! Therefore when we rise up to go the extra mile, to do just a little more than the rest, to be ultra faithful and dependable, we stand out and shine like stars in a dark sky. Just this week somebody in my Sunday School class, Bill Letaw, was telling our class how true this is - that he's seen it manifested in his work situation. Most of his peers at his company only want to do just what is asked of them, no more. He said when he goes just a little beyond, he stands out incredibly in his boss's eyes. It's a principle well worth remembering.
There are great blessings in serving with faithfulness, dedication and excellence. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." I want to be "always abounding". I know that my labor is never in vain. Never, because God sees it and keeps score.
I love how Hebrews 6:10 & 11 puts it: God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure."Today as we were walking around the shops in St. Pete, I saw a t-shirt that was hot pink and it said, "Jesus loves you...but I'm His favorite." I laughed so hard. You know, I really do believe that faithful people are God's favorite, or at least He does seem to greatly bless them.
Yes, I am special. And if you are serving the Lord with all your might and you sometimes get discouraged by some unfaithfulness in others, or lack of excellence, just say to yourself, right now, "yes, but you are special." Realize, they may choose to do that and get to lay around more or sleep in another day but you are in line for promotion and favor. So rejoice my friend. The Bible says that David ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD. Sometimes you and I have to do the same thing. If you are a pastor or pastor's wife reading this and you are going through this, or you are a hard working Sunday School director whose teachers are late all the time, or you are a choir director trying to corral a bunch of stray choir members and you are discouraged right now because somebody was late, didn't show up, didn't call, quit or whatever, just back up from your computer chair right now, and say it out loud...YEAH, BUT I'M SPECIAL!!!"
The bottom line is, God loves everybody, Jesus died for everybody. You can't do anything to earn their love and it is unconditional and everlasting. But "rewards" and 'blessings"? They aren't just doled out upon the masses for just anything. They come in greater degree to those who are faithful and serve with excellence.
Next time you get a little chapped when a slacker does something, just smile real big and think to yourself, "OKAY SO THEY DID THAT, BUT I AM SPECIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" or if you really need a boost, run outside by yourself, jump up and down and holler it a few times.