(Jesus said) "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. ...." Matthew 28:19-20a
On the James Farley Post Office Building in New York City there is a familiar inscription. It reads: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Although this past winter has shown there are some exceptions to that lofty goal, most of the time the vast majority of mail folks are incredibly faithful in their deliveries.
But, like I say, there are exceptions. One of those exceptions is Patrick Paskett who delivered the mail in Massapequa and Seaford.
Sadly, the swift completion of his appointed rounds was not stayed by the weather. No, in Paskett's case, the mail failed because of a bit of laziness. On March 6th of this year Paskett was seen throwing a stack of letters into a local garbage can. When the police talked to him, he said he had dumped mail about 15 times since this past December.
Some of that mail has been recovered and delivered.
When that story was told to some friends, most of them were aghast. I tried to play the devil's advocate by saying, "Most of the mail he chucked was probably junk."
They said, "But suppose there was something the people really needed."
I said, "He did them a favor because a goodly percentage of that mail would have been bills."
They replied, "If they don't pay their bills, it's going to hurt their credit or worse."
I tried one last time by adding, "In those thousands of pieces of mail that were tossed there was probably, at most, a handful of letters containing very good or very bad news."
Those who were listening shouted back, "Good or bad, these folks would have wanted to see what was written."
One of my friends observed, "Doesn't he know the delivery of the mail is almost a sacred trust."
With that statement, my friend was speaking a great truth. It is a truth that applies to all mail carriers and to Christians. You see, Jesus, in a final act of pre-Ascension teaching, told His disciples they were to go, teach and baptize sinners into the Christian faith. Although Jesus was speaking to His closest disciples, He was also speaking to us.
It was as if He were saying, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night shall stay My couriers from going and making disciples of all nations, where they will baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
But Jesus would also add, "And don't let hunger, cold, heat, flood or persecution stop you from the swift completion of these appointed rounds." To their credit the disciples listened to what Jesus said, and the apostles managed to cover a good share of the known world before they died.
We should do the same. After all, we have a message which isn't junk mail, and it isn't a bill. In the story of the Christ we have a message of Good News of great joy, which is for all people.
It is a message which needs to be delivered.
As my friend said, "It is a sacred trust."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let nothing stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Let us deliver the message of salvation, which comes through Christ. This we ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries