Have you ever completed and mailed in an official entry form for a Publisher’s Clearing House prize?  I bit once, sent in the form and then began receiving notice after notice to be completed in order to remain in the running.  By the time the $5,000 A Week For Life prize was awarded, to God knows who, I had watched an entire season of Downton Abbey DVD’s while simultaneously leafing through page after page of advertisement flyers looking for gold medallion stickers, hidden stars and scratch off tickets to be attached to and/or enclosed with the official entry forms and returned by the deadline date.

The evening I pulled down the door of the mailbox and saw a florescent green letter glowing within, I had the strangest feeling something was not quite right.  I pulled it out from among the stack of campaign notices, travel brochures and weekly specials at the IGA to see it read, “You’re A Publisher’s Clearing House Winner!”

I paused, looked around and actually waited for a moment, but there was no one hiding in the bushes with a bouquet of flowers by Janet or a bunch of helium balloons and there was not a limo anywhere in sight – just another WalMart eighteen wheeler rushing by.

Undaunted, I hurried back to the house as excited as Ralphie in The Christmas Story with his long-awaited Little Orphan Annie Secret Society Decoder Pin. My heart pounded, my hands shook slightly and that old feeling of “It’s thin. That’s a good sign, right? Acceptance letters are always thin, aren’t they?” pumped adrenaline into my bloodstream as I slipped the letter opener beneath the fold of the envelope and lifted it upward.

I guess I should be thankful.  The ten bucks did cover the postage spent mailing my entry forms back and forth.  But oh, this is really embarrassing, I remember something else now.  I ordered the Fiesta Bowls hoping it would increase my chances of winning.  I think that puts me about six bucks in the hole…

How wonderful it was to be reminded during my quiet time the next morning that God has an inheritance and a crown of glory reserved for me in heaven that will not disappoint me.  It sure is easy to get all wrapped up in seeking the world’s prizes of fortune, fame and power.  We end up taking great pains and undergoing all sorts of hardships striving like the athletes of Ancient Greece who obtained crowns of olive tree boughs, bay leaves or laurel that withered and turned to dust I Corinthians 9:25.  Everything on this earth is subject to decay and, even if it lasts until we die or some thief doesn’t steal it from us, we can’t take it with us.  We really don’t ever see a U-Haul behind a hearse, do we?

But not so the heavenly crown; faithful endurance wins a heavenly reward which is “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” 1 Peter 1:3-5. That is a prize worth pressing toward while “He who dies with the most toys wins” is not.

As you endure the inevitable trials, pains, heartaches and disappointments of this life, LOOK UP, “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” and FORWARD to the crown of glory that awaits you.

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