Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Special Delivery

Who would have believed what we heard? Who saw the Lord's power in this?

-- Isaiah 53:1

Before FedEx, UPS and E-mail, there was Special Delivery.

Between 1885 and 1997, the Post Office offered this popular service, which involved a letter’s delivery from the local branch directly to the recipient (rather than through the mailman’s standard route). And Special Delivery postage – not surprisingly – cost several times more than the price of a regular First Class stamp. That’s because the Post Office would dispatch a dedicated courier – sometimes on bicycle – to hand-deliver the letter to ensure its important message reached the addressee.

What was so special about Special Delivery? Today, we live in an age of instant messaging, Tweets, E-mail and Facebook. We can take a cell phone from our pocket and call almost anyone in the world at any time. But back in the day before jet airplanes and the Internet erased the miles between New York and California, Special Delivery was the way to go to quickly spread the word about the “big stuff” -- that very special life-altering news covering topics like marriage, birth, death or even a job offer.

As Christ-followers known collectively as The Church, we also have a very important message requiring special delivery. Ours is the Gospel, which translated from Greek means Good News. And what is this good news that distinguishes us from everyone else on Earth? It’s that God’s own Son – Jesus – has paid the heavy price for all of our wrongdoings by dying a criminal’s death on cross. And then three days later, He fulfilled the prophesies written about Him centuries earlier by rising again to life. This means that everyone who accepts Jesus’ free gift of salvation is a new creation (“born again”) in God’s eyes. We don’t deserve it. But it’s our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior that wipes the slate clean, enables us live our lives anew and have an eternal future with God.

Now that IS some Good News. And Christ-followers and the Church are called to be its Special Delivery couriers. But how?

The most obvious way is to deliver this message during our worship services and personal interactions with non-Believers. But that’s not all. Christ-followers are also to spread the Word by being Jesus’ hands and feet on earth while we wait for His return – or that day when He calls us back home (whichever comes first). Until then, God wants us to help prepare His kingdom by making the most of the different gifts and talents He’s given each follower. In short, we’re to serve others by following Christ’s example.

“Make your light shine,” Jesus explained, “so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.”

When we serve, it’s not about us – it’s instead about Him and His promise of a new life. So as Christ-followers, let’s turn our faith into action – and deliver the Good News – by accepting Jesus’ invitation to help brighten a dark, dying world that’s so much in need of guidance, truth and love.

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