Saturday, December 17, 2016

Special Delivery

Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

-- Psalm 80:3

Long before FedEx, email and Facebook, there was Special Delivery.

Between 1885 and 1997, the U.S. Postal ServiceSpecial Delivery3 offered this premium option, which involved a letter's delivery from the local post office branch directly to the recipient--rather than through the mail carrier's normal route. And Special Delivery postage was costly. That's because it called for a dedicated courier--sometimes on bicycle--to hand-deliver the letter to ensure that its important message reached the addressee. 

What was so special about Special Delivery? 

Today we live in an age of instant messaging and Twitter. We can take a smartphone from our pocket and Skype 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 quickly spread the word about the big stuff: that special life-altering news about marriage, birth, death or even a job offer. 

As Christ-followers known collectively as The Church, we also have an important message that requires 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 high price for all of our failures and shortcomings by dying on a cross in our place. The result is that everyone who accepts Jesus' free gift of salvation becomes a new creation ("born again") in God's eyes. Our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior wipes the slate clean, enables us to live our lives anew and have an eternal future with our Creator. 

Now that IS Good News! And Christ-followers are called to be its Special Delivery couriers. But how can we do that?

The most obvious way is to deliver the message through our worship services and personal interactions with non-believers. But we're 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). Either way, God wants us to help prepare his kingdom by making the most of the gifts and talents that he's given us. We're to serve others by following Christ's example: 

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

It's not about us. It's instead about Jesus and the promise of new life through him. So let's turn our faith into action and deliver this Good News by shining a light upon a dark world that's so much in need of his guidance, truth and love. 

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