Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I remember the days when customers spoke kindly of the U.S. P.S. (United States Postal Service). Today there are more complaints about their service than compliments. The postal service handles more mail per day than I can imagine, yet they have a too-high rate of lost or destroyed mail complaints. I know this from personal experience. In 2005, three of my checks were lost within the short span of two months.

Some of the mail is destroyed by machinery. Some is misplaced, forever lost, left in the bottom of a mailbag, sent on permanent vacation to unknown destination, or hidden in a home or storage locker by the occasional kooky carrier. Thankfully, much of the mail does reach its destination intact. And that is thanks to the hard-working folks such as my friend Bill who has a high pressure postal job in another state. I do not know whether the center where he works realizes how dedicated and conscientious he is or how his determination reflects well on the postal system, but I do know God is aware he perseveres on the job and always gives his best to help postal customers.

Misdelivered or lost mail can cause major problems, so I really appreciate a good mail carrier. I had a carrier in Phoenix, Arizona who knew everyone on his route, even though he delivered to a number of apartment buildings with a high turnover of tenants, and he had a very low incidence of mail delivered to the wrong box. He was personable, diligent and highly regarded.

The carrier at my next apartment complex was just the opposite. One of the tenants in the apartment building called his supervisor one day and asked, “What does that man have on you that he can do whatever he wants and walk away without even a reprimand?” One complaint was that although the news carried warning after warning about boxes of checks being stolen from home mailboxes, this carrier continued to throw boxes of checks on the public sidewalk somewhere in the vague vicinity of an apartment, and he could not understand why anyone would fuss about it.

I moved to a small town several years ago and the mail service has been good here. For several years, Randy has delivered mail in this area. This is a walking route, whereas the other carriers drive their routes. He walks ten miles a day, up and down steps, and up and down hills.

He works hard, yet he is always smiling and cheerful. He knows who is related to whom and which dogs belong to which owner. If anyone has a question or a problem, he will do his best to answer or resolve it. He is not the type to deliver a box of checks by tossing it toward the porch from several yards away. All of the people I know on his route like him and trust him, knowing he is willing to go the extra mile to serve.

He is one of those people who bring to mind Ecclesiastes 9:10a: Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.

Lately I noticed a substitute carrier is delivering the mail and assumed, as did others on his route, Randy is on vacation. I learned today he is not off somewhere having fun. He is recovering at home from injuries sustained when the diving board broke and he fell into his pool while he was cleaning it. The pool was empty at the time and his injuries are serious. He will be out of work for three to four months.

As I thought about his accident today, two things immediately came to mind.

1. No matter how hard you try to avoid them, accidents can happen. In a split second your life is altered, and you can not go backwards, only forward with your life.

2. A lazy worker’s absence is noted with celebration. A hard worker’s absence is recognized with sadness.

My neighborhood recognizes Randy’s absence with sadness. We are praying for his complete recovery and look forward to seeing him back on his route. Meanwhile, the route is being handled by a brave (it’s a hard route, remember) and competent female sub.

Some Christians are lazy workers, wanting to skim through life and into heaven with as little work as possible, but we are called to service. The Bible is our instruction manual. Prayer is our power source. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, which was the act of a servant. He is our example.

Some Christians are such hard workers they can forget salvation is a gift of God, not a do-it-yourself challenge. Their works will not earn their way into God’s kingdom.

I do not know whether the world, your neighbors, or even your family will realize how dedicated and conscientious you are, but I do know God is aware when you persevere and work hard in His service. .

Christians are part of the body. Serving others can be frustrating and exhausting at times, but it is also rewarding. Our work is to be done in Christ and not in our own strength or to our own glory.

© 2006 Janice Price

No comments: