Duly feted, celebrated, and honored on the anniversary of fifty years of ministry I was asked, “What’s next?” I replied, “Tomorrow is day fifty years plus one, the first day of the next fifty.” While I don’t expect to hit a hundred and fifteen, (it could happen!), I expect to leave a body of work and a legacy for future generations. I have lived a life of favor.
(BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER…. As I write these words our city has just experienced a devastating tornado. Our church family was largely unscathed excepting for roof damage, missing pieces of siding, the general power outage, and a couple of days of boiling water. There is a reason that we claim, Peace, Power, Preservation, and Prosperity every Sunday. As a church we underwrote the expenses of a community co-ordinator who pointed people in the right direction, both to help those in need, and those who wanted to help. My fiftieth anniversary came the Sunday after the tornado, and our church family really did rally around it, amidst their stories of favor. Favor manifests in many ways, and favor was indeed found by our church family. Knowing all of that, power and water restored, we left for the long-planned vacation that I’m using to illustrate how to find favor.)
After the celebration service, we hopped on the plane for our annual anniversary trip to Florida. The following is a recounting of some of the trip, with applications on finding favor in life. Favor is a funny thing. It just doesn’t happen. It has to be found. “For Thou, oh Lord, will bless the righteous, with favor wilt Thou compass him, as with a shield.”
FIRST WE FLEW… First Class. First class is always better than Comfort Class, which is always better than Coach, which is always better than Economy. Being a seasoned traveler, I always check the variables, and on this trip discovered that First Class wasn’t much more than Comfort Class after adding in the baggage fees. Besides that, on New Years Eve of this year I sowed a very large offering into the ministry of a friend who literally travels the world with specific instructions—“This is to be used for First Class upgrades only.” I had already expressed my feelings that a man of his stature, experiences, and age, shouldn’t be spending twenty hours in Coach. What You Sow Is What You Grow, and I’ve been finding favor on airline upgrades ever since.
BTW—YOU JUST GOT YOUR FIRST LESSON ON FINDING FAVOR.
THEN WE ARRIVED… I had made a mistake. Double booked the rental car. I almost always book my rentals on Priceline, (should they be giving me a little something for my endorsement?), and generally end up using Alamo Car Rental, (ditto Alamo!), because they generally are the least expensive. Having favor doesn’t mean wasting money! My friendly counter person, friendly because I first made myself friendly, checked to see which one would be the less expensive, and having settled that I inquired about an upgrade.
SECOND AND THIRD LESSONS— BE FRIENDLY. ASK ABOUT UPGRADES.
He upgraded me to a Jaguar SUV for a minimal charge—less than the cost of the mid-size SV I generally get, (generally the best price, most room, more comfortable), and we arrived at our destination in style.
FOURTH LESSON—LOOK LIKE YOU BELONG WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.
WE ARRIVED AT THE HOTEL… Once again booked on Priceline, after researching on Tripadvisor.com. I always research my trips on Tripadvisor because the reviews are from the traveling public and generally accurate. There will always be superlative and negative comments about a property, but they seem to average out.
(A little travel tip for Priceline users—you’ll often find instant deals that are real deals, the caveat is that you don’t know which hotel you’re getting until you purchase it. But if you hit four stars, and compare the ratings with the rating of the “deal hotel”, you can generally figure out which hotel it is, and you will stay in the four star hotel for the price of a two star! And there is a difference between two star and four star.)
Before we entered the lobby we met “The Cat.” A grey and white tabby, obviously well fed, equally obvious an outdoor cat, hotel mascot, and the real owner of the place. She deigned to allow us to pet her once or twice before walking away with her tail in the air. Cats are notoriously stand-offish, outdoor cats especially, and this one was more than most. More about the cat later.
I ASKED THE FRONT DESK at check in—“Do you have any interesting upgrades?” (Remember lesson three?) The clerk said, “Funny you should ask—we just upgraded you five minutes ago because we didn’t like the room they assigned to you.” So, we found ourselves happily ensconced in a ground floor suite with two bathrooms, a living room, and a bedroom. Did I mention that it was beachfront with a patio, lounge chairs, and an umbrella? For Thou, Oh Lord, will bless the righteous,” indeed!
WE JUST GOT TO THE ROOM… Join me “Behind The Door,” and I’ll share some more insights on finding favor. And tell you more about the trip. I have been experimenting with the format of “The Theory Of Everything,” and for the last month or so you have not needed to sow a seed to get “Behind The Door.” My object was to find out if my readers actually perceive the value of what I am sharing, i.e. if you perceive the value you will support the ministry. The verdict is still not in. Those who have been supporting continue to, and those that haven’t still haven’t gotten the revelation. Let me break it down—you get out of a thing what you put into a thing. The seed you sow, (BTW—you’ll find this in the scriptures), releases the anointing. So let me encourage you to sow a seed, and join me “Behind The Door.” (Or you can do that in reverse if you’d like.)