January 3, 2020

Rewards of Faithfulness

From Southwest Airlines to 7-Eleven, everyone, it seems, wants us to be loyal.

Rudy Micelli

As a frequent flier for nearly 15 years, I’ve learned that the best way to travel is to use the same services from the same companies. I fly with the same airline, rent cars from the same car rental company, and either stay in the same chain of hotels or reserve lodging with the same hotel-booking website. I choose the ones that reward me for being a frequent customer.

That’s the word: “reward”!

Then I stay faithful to them.

Well, I guess that’s the word: “faithful”!

As such, my wallet is full of “jewelry.” Gold, silver, platinum, even diamond!

If they were the actual precious materials, I’d be very rich. But they are only plastic cards with titles that include such words as “executive” and “priority.”

Some travelers choose to buy special memberships with these companies so they can receive the perks, but I’ve never purchased them. They can be very costly; certainly more than I can afford. Instead, I maintain my status by being a frequent customer.

Status Makes a Difference!

These “plastic titles” make a huge difference with my travel experience. Life on the road is much easier when you have them.

Faithfulness and reward apply most significantly to our relationship with the Lord, our heavenly Father.

In the event of flight disruptions, for example, while other travelers are on their phones listening to “on hold” music or anxiously waiting in long lines to find other flight options, I get a call on my cell phone from an airline representative apologizing profusely for the trouble and telling me that my next potential flight is already booked and confirmed.

With car rentals I never choose expensive cars. I always choose economy. But in most cases I actually have to refuse the car they offer me because it’s too big and luxurious for just one person. It’s not practical for me. So I choose something nice but smaller. And the best part? I get the upgraded car for the same price as the economy car I initially reserved. They reward me because I’m faithful.

On one of my recent trips I was on a completely full flight. Because of my status, I often get upgraded to first-class, but this time I didn’t. My chance to board first was guaranteed, however, and I had a good seat on economy. So I was fine. No complaints.

Moments after the flight took off, though, a flight attendant walked down the aisle, stopped at my row, and said, “Hello, Mr. Micelli! Thank you for flying with us again today. If there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re here to serve you.”

Everyone around me turned to look at me, probably trying to figure out who this person was who was receiving such special treatment. As I sheepishly thanked the flight attendant, I felt  gratitude as well as some embarrassment. But the experience got me thinking about those two words again: “faithfulness” and “reward.”

A Spiritual Application

Faithfulness and reward apply most significantly to our relationship with the Lord, our heavenly Father.

He wants us to come to Him every time, for every need, at every moment. And the “perks” for that are the best—and they’re unending and eternal.

We can’t even come close to deserving or earning that kind of VIP treatment; instead, the very high price for this type of membership has already been paid. We receive  this “status” as a gift. We are in! We are gold! We are priority!

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9).

Talk about VIP membership!

So why do we look all over the place for what we need? Why, instead of going to the same source for everything, do we “shop around” and then wonder why we end up so unsatisfied? All we get is the nameless “who are you?” kind of treatment; the mediocre “get what you pay for” treatment.

In our heavenly Father’s kingdom we’re known by name, and we are truly appreciated. We are jewels!

God offers the best kind of membership; the closest kind of relationship: “ ‘I have called you by your name; you are mine’ ” (Isa. 43:1, NKJV).*

I want to be more and more frequent with my Lord and take advantage of this gift He so happily gives us. Being faithful to Him results in indescribable rewards—especially our ultimate, eternal reward of being with Jesus forever.

Keep up the faith!

* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Rudy Micelli, born in Brazil, sings in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and has ministered for Jesus through music in nearly 40 countries.