A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford

I’ve been cleaning out my clothes closet this week and came across the Interim sweater I wore in the days when my husband Walt and I were chaplains for employees and patients at Interim Healthcare in Greenville, SC. The embroidered Interim logo is still beautifully plain. When people saw it they knew it stood for the health-care company whose mission statement was, and still is, “Honoring God through the enrichment of human life.” I wore my Interim sweater only when I was on business for Interim. People had a right to measure Interim by how I performed, how I provided what my company promised them we’d provide. I could never, ever forget “to whom I belonged.”

When our seven children were young, their father always called to them as they left the house, “Remember who you belong to!” (O.K., I know it isn’t grammatically correct; but the children certainly knew exactly what he meant.) Whether they were headed for a ball game, double-dating for a school event, performing in a music recital, competing in a speech tournament, leaving for camp for a week, or simply leaving for school each morning, their Daddy always called to them, “Remember who you belong to.”

People called him, “Dr. Handford,” or maybe “Pastor Handford.” My family called him “Walt.” But his children always called him “Daddy.” Their father was in high profile in the community as pastor of a large church, so people knew the Handford name. And perhaps some people had too high expectations of their pastor’s very normal (and wonderful!) kids.

But when Walt told his dear children, “Remember who you belong to,” the children knew he did not mean, “You’re a Handford, so you sure better measure up to what people expect. You’d better not tarnish the Handford name.” He never meant that, and the children umderstood exactly what he did mean. He had something much more important in mind. The Handford children belonged to the High King of Heaven and earth. They knew, and treasured, the fact that Jesus had bought them with a high price. That high price was not cheap stuff like money, or silver or gold, but, as the Apostle Peter explained it, with His own precious death on the cross.

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you . . . .
And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.
He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ,
the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 1 Peter 1:18,19 nlt

And because they were children of God, they believed First Corinthians 6:19, 20:

“Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own. For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Oh, may I always remember that I belong to the Lord Jesus! May I never tarnish His holy name by how I represent Him to on-lookers! People, no matter their religious orientation, long for integrity. They yearn to know how to find peace with God. Please, dear Jesus, let me represent You so well that they will find rest in You.