A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford

Why doesn’t my child pick up his toys when I tell him to? Why does my boss seem to be dissatisfied with my work, but never tells me why? Why does the city council keep making such contrary decisions? Why does our church leadership feel our people don’t support them? Why did our HOA raise our rates again this year?

Real problems—but there may be a simple answer. You were given a round-trip ticket, outbound and inbound! Did you complete the in-bound part? Did you report back?

An old grandmother, told me when I was a young mother, “Don’t ever tell your children to do something, and not follow up on it. Give them a round-trip ticket. The ‘outbound’ ticket is telling them what you want done. The ‘return’ ticket is their reporting back to you that they’ve done what you told them to do.” And, of course, that means that you must follow up on what you told them to do.

I was counseling a young mother who brought her two small children with her. She settled them with crayons and coloring book at a table. The poor woman was aggrieved about everything in her life, but especially about her children’s failures to obey her. As we talked, the little girl grabbed her brother’s crayon, and started using it. “Belinda, give it back,” the mother said absently, but then continued her complaint. The child kept the crayon, and a tussle ensued. “Stop it, kids!” she tiredly, but the noisy conflict continued. “See what I mean?” she asked me. But her children seemed to have no reason to suppose their mother really expected them to obey.

In the book of Deuteronomy, God commanded the Israelites to share their harvests with the poor people in the land. Deuteronomy 26:12 (nlt) says:

Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops.
You must give these tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows
So that they will have enough to eat in your towns.

In verse 13 God gives them the “return” part of the ticket:

Then you must declare in the presence of the LORD your God,
‘I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it
to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows,
Just as you commanded me.

So I have an obligation to report I’ve done the job I was told to do, in every part of my life. And I have an obligation to listen to God’s Word, change what I need to change, and then report back to Him, “I have done what You told me to do.”

The Apostle Paul did this so eloquently at the end of his life, in 1 Timothy 4:7 (nlt):
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”

And the dear Lord Jesus, the Creator of heaven and earth, on the night before He died, still reported back to the Father who had sent Him to earth to accomplish our redemption:

I have glorified You on the earth.I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. John 17:4 (nlt)