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Wilee works for a bicycle delivery agency in New York City.  He’s given an envelope that he’s supposed to deliver across town.  No problem.  Wilee is good at his job and he takes it seriously.  He understands that people are counting on him to deliver their documents and to do it on time.  It’s his job; it’s what he’s paid to do.  This time, however, the job takes a personal turn, and as it does so, his journey mirrors that of the maturing Christian.

Wilee’s client, Nima, acts a little strangely when she gives him her envelope.  She’s reluctant to pass it on to someone else.  It’s clearly very important to her, not only the document, but the time and location of delivery as well.  The moment Wilee takes the envelope, what should be a routine delivery suddenly becomes life threatening.  In fact, so much so that he takes the envelope back to Nima, thinking that nothing is worth that much trouble.

The envelope that seemed to be not worth the trouble was worth so much more than Wilee ever guessed.  Nima had worked day and night for the past three years to earn enough money to bring her young son to the States—this envelope held the receipt for that money and without it, her son would not be allowed to enter the States.  It held the word of life for her and her son.

There are a lot of “Christians” who have the Word of God, but don’t yet realize just how valuable it really is.  Maybe they are young in their faith and knowledge of God, or maybe they have been religious all their life, but just never really understood what Jesus is all about.  Whatever the reason, they are likely to stay that way until they face some opposition to their faith.  When they face trials or opposition, they may, like Wilee, want to give it back.  They may decide Christianity isn’t worth the hassle…until they find out what it’s really worth. When they find out that Jesus died to bring it to them, that it is really the power of life and death for those who believe—the way, the truth and the life, meant to set captives free, even themselves—then suddenly everything changes. 

Everything changed for Wilee when he realized what he had held in his possession.  Suddenly he felt that it was worth any sacrifice he could make.  He was now committed to making sure that the envelope was delivered on time—whether or not he got paid, whether or not his life was at stake, whether or not it cost him everything—everything was worth it to get that envelope delivered.

This is how a mature disciple of Christ feels.  This is why believers around the world are enduring persecution and even death—because any and every sacrifice is worth it for the sake of delivering the message of Jesus to the lost.  Other people’s lives are at stake, and not just their physical lives, but their lives for all of eternity.  They must hear the Good News of Jesus Christ!

Wilee discovered that another messenger, his rival nonetheless, had picked up the envelope and was going to deliver it.  The only problem was, his rival didn’t know the value of the message, nor the dangers surrounding it.  Manny only agreed to the job for the money and the chance to outdo Wilee.  Wilee had a choice to make—he could let his rivalry get in the way of the message, he could simply trust Manny with the delivery, or he could work to ensure that the message was delivered, whether through Manny or himself.  Wilee chose the latter, even though Manny (who wouldn’t put aside the rivalry) didn’t make it easy.

The apostle Paul was faced with a similar choice.  He wrote in Philippians 1:

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Paul didn’t focus on the motives of other preachers.  He set aside any personal agendas and looked past the trouble others were causing him and focused on the bigger issue, the importance of the message. All Paul cared about was that the message of Jesus was delivered, even if it meant being a co-laborer for a time with his rivals.  The maturing Christian is bound to face a similar dilemma at some point. 

Wilee was a leader among his peers.  When he became passionate and fully committed to seeing that envelope delivered, no matter the cost, others followed.  Before long, his girlfriend and his rival and other bike messengers…all were getting involved and making sacrifices for the delivery of that message.  His passion, while it cost him greatly, also inspired others and through their group effort, the message was delivered and lives were saved.

It is no different for the disciple of Christ.  When you and I become passionate and fully committed to seeing the Word of God delivered to the lost, no matter the cost, we will find that others are inspired to follow in our path.  They will get involved, work with us, make their own sacrifices—all so that others can be saved by the love of God.  

Like Wilee, we may be naïve when we begin.  We may not know the real power or value of the message that is entrusted to us, but this is the journey of maturing in Christ—that as we increasingly become aware of the value of the message we are given, we also become increasingly willing to sacrifice all to deliver it. 

Questions for Discussion:  

  • How do you feel about the Gospel of Christ?  Is it something you believe?  If so, would you say you treat it more like Wilee treated that envelope before he found out what it was really worth or after?
  • What might change about your life right now if you really felt like there was an immediate crisis of life and death attached to whether or not others hear the message of Jesus?
  • Wilee and the apostle Paul were willing to set aside all rivalries and overlook any personal injury they caused them, all for the sake of delivering their message.  Have you ever had to put aside a rivalry for the sake of a higher cause/call?  Was this something that happened in the natural world (e.g., in sports or business, etc.), or the spiritual realm, for the sake of the Gospel?  How did you respond?
  • In the end, Wilee’s commitment and passion inspired others to get involved and help.  Whose passion for reaching the lost with the Good News of Jesus has inspired you?
  • Have you ever been so passionate about something that you were willing to go it alone if you had to, but found that your passion and commitment inspired others to get involved and help?  Explain.