Jordin Phipps is a third-grader in Garland, Texas. She recently recorded a video of a mantra she learned in school: “I will start my day in a positive way! I will be respectful with the words that I say! I will pay attention and I will do my best and I will study hard for every test!”
Her mother shared the video with her alma mater, the University of North Texas. The university has now announced that it is giving Jordin the President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership. It comes with a $10,000 scholarship and guarantees her admission to the college’s class of 2030.
When we do the right thing, life often repays the favor—even in the hardest challenges we face.
Residents on the East Coast are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful storm to approach the region in almost a decade. More than a million people are being evacuated before the storm strikes tomorrow. This tragedy presents a unique opportunity for God’s people to serve those in need, demonstrating God’s love in their compassion.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis is making headlines this morning with his visit to survivors of an earthquake that killed nearly 300 people in Italy last August. His trip was unusual in that it was unannounced. The pope wanted to meet personally with those affected by the tragedy. In one convalescent home, he greeted all sixty residents individually and had lunch with them. His message was simple: “Always look ahead. [Have] courage, and help each other. One walks better together, alone we go nowhere. Let’s go forward!”
Pope Francis is right: we must have courage and help each other.
Scripture is clear: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). We are taught to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17). In fact, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).
In 2 Samuel 4, two men beheaded Ish-bosheth, the king of Israel. They brought the head to David, Ish-bosheth’s rival, expecting to be rewarded. Instead, David honored the position Ish-bosheth held by ordering that the men who killed him be executed. What he did not know was that his commitment to honoring the throne would serve him when he ascended it.
The law of unintended consequences favors the righteous. The sovereign Lord of the universe has a way of working through the circumstances of our lives for his glory and our good. If we do what is right simply because it is right, we position ourselves to receive all that God’s grace intends to give.
When forced to choose between temporal and eternal rewards, choose the latter. The psalmist prayed to God: “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end” (Psalm 102:25–27).
Ten thousand millennia after the last star goes out, your heavenly reward for earthly service will have only begun.