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Passing Grade July 2

I Corinthians 4:15-16

For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus, I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore, I urge you, imitate me.

I listened to an evangelist tell a story about two men playing pool. One man was an excellent pool player. As they played together, the man was amazed at how good his friend was, and he remarked: "You're really good! you should go Pro." To which his friend replied, "Oh, I'm not good enough to be a pro; I'm a B-level player at best."

The man said, "I don't know, you look like an A-level player to me" His friend replied, "That's because you have never seen an A-level pool player."

This message stuck with me for days, and it struck a core in my heart. I knew I was a C-level Christian at best. I would think about this message while I worked. I had never really won any awards in my life, always on the losing sports teams. I set out to win the Employee of the month award for my company. For six or seven months straight, I performed, I led the company in new sales every month, but someone else always received the award, no matter how hard I worked. It was frustrating, then one day, as I was about to leave, I overheard another salesman congratulate my friend and fellow salesman, Don, for winning the Employee of the month award. Don was so gracious he whispered to the man, "Shhh! I don't want Scott to know it would hurt his feelings, He tried so hard to win this." He hadn't even placed it on his desk out of consideration for my feelings. The first month someone beat me in new sales and only by a margin of two new customers.

I silently slunk out of the office on a Friday afternoon to head home. Sometime during the week before this, when my mind wasn't thinking about polishing the coveted award. I had prayed and asked God if I could spend a day with an A-level Christian. The only man I knew who filled this category was my Pastor, Brother Lee Lamury, a man of great faith and accomplishment. I asked God if I could spend a day with just me and Brother Lee. I remember thinking it was a wasted prayer because Brother Lee was so busy and who was I?

Sunday prior, Brother Lee announced that he needed several men from the church to come in on Saturday and help with some much-needed work. We had the best men of Christ I had ever known, and this body of men enjoyed stepping up to do work for the Lord whenever the opportunity arose, without fail.

I arrived on Saturday morning; Brother Harvey came, and Brother Lee and no one else. We waited for a while, and Brother Harvey had things he had to get done, so Brother Lee wanted me to work with him that day. As we worked together, I knew the Lord had answered my prayer. I noticed that Brother Lee was a man of deep thought and little talk. I could tell he was deeply bothered that no one arrived to help out, but he never said anything, and I could sense it somehow. As we worked together, he shared success principles with me governing work ethics, "Five minutes of preparation for a job, can save you forty-five minutes of work" and more. He spoke with me about leadership.

I was afraid to tell him about my selfish prayer. As we were driving, I told him about not getting the award, how deeply it hurt, and how hard I had tried.

He thought for a moment and said, "Sometimes God will test you to see how you will handle defeat so that He can reward you more in the future."

As we were about to leave for the day, I could tell that he was very concerned about why no one had come. He excused himself for a moment, and he went to a backroom in the church, and he prayed. Moments later, he came out of the room, and his face was brilliantly shining; he was brimming with a smile from ear to ear. He walked up to me, shook my hand, and said: "I'm glad I was able to spend the day with you!"

The Lord had told him my prayer and answered mine. On the following Monday, I walked into work and congratulated my friend Don for the award and how happy I was for him to have received it.

I never did receive that award as a salesman, but two years later, I was promoted to branch manager. My branch won 12 awards at the company banquet that year, almost a clean sweep of every award the company had to offer, and it was my honor to stand in the grand ballroom of the Hilton Hotel and present my friend Don with "Employee of the Year Award."

Oh, and by the way, I won Branch Manager of the Year.

I encourage you to find a real Father in the Lord and imitate him; the principles are for your success in life as well as success in Christ.

He is: El Deah

The God of Knowledge



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