As a teenager I participated in contests that involved competition among several local churches with winners advancing to a “district” level competition, involving a fairly large geographic area. The categories of competition including recitation of a lengthly passage of scripture, an oratorical presentation, and musical talent in voice, piano and organ, and musical instrument. Once you won the district level of a specific category, you could not compete in that area for several years.
Winners of the first level of competition were awarded a very modest (I.e. small) trophy. District level prizes were impressive: a larger trophy and a savings bond of $25. The prize was worth the work.
I won the district level prizes for scripture memorization and for oration in junior high; I was excited to be able to compete again in those categories in the senior high division. I began memorizing the scripture passage that had been selected for that year’s competition.
But, I got distracted. And, although I practiced and worked on the passage over and over, I really only knew the first half. The day of the first level of competition came and I knew that I wasn’t really ready. But, I decided, it will probably turn out ok.
Competitors got to select the version of scripture that they would memorize. And, surprisingly, the judged did not have my version with them. Then we learned that I had no competitors. If I finished my recitation, I would automatically advance. And so, knowing that I was “good to go”, I relaxed and pushed ahead.
Let’s just say that I really did not know the end of the scripture passage. My pastor was following along in his Bible as I recited the scripture and then I saw him close his Bible and smile as he continued to listen. He later said that he, a Biblical scholar, had enjoyed my presentation but was curious as to how the story I was reciting was going to turn out!!
I worked harder after that and nailed it at the district level, taking home the savings bond and trophy.
Want the valuable prize? Do the work. You can’t count on judges who aren’t prepared or competitors who don’t show up!!
Want to enjoy Christmas this year? Do the work within your heart and your attitude. Soften your heart. Practice kindness. Focus on the love of God. Decide to praise Him with your every thought, word and deed. Do the work – God will bless your faithful and willing heart!!
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)