This really is a lesson I sent on December 15, 2006 via e-mail.
While sitting at work this morning, the Disney story of Cinderella came to mind. This might be for you or somebody you know (if it's for somebody you know, pass it to them). Thinking back to my elementary school days, my uncle (who was only 2 years older than me) had a Disney children's book collection that I loved to read when I would visit him & my grandmother (which Cinderella was one of them - yes, I was an avid reader). Some of you might actually remember this (the cover was pink). Now that we're older, we might think it's a woman's story, but anyway, some of us might feel like Cinderella. Allow me a moment to explain.
In the beginning of the story, Cinderella is living with a stepmother and two stepsisters. They mistreated Cinderella. Now, when it came time for the ball (which Cinderella wanted to go to), they told her no and she had to clean up the house. The mice made Cinderella a dress from the stepfamily's unwanted jewelry and fabric. Cinderella loved it, but when the stepfamily saw it, they ripped it to shreds.
A moment to pause: Now how many of us have been mistreated (whether it's your place of employment, or you're the outcast of your own family, whatever the situation). I could imagine that if this were a real story, that God had His hand on Cinderella (and had something better for her even though she didn't understand), because she endured hardships just for being her.
Anyway, a fairy godmother came to Cinderella and rearranged her wardrobe for her to go to the ball (where the prince would be).
A moment to pause: this makes me think back to when an angel appeared to Mary when he said to her, you have found favor. Cinderella got a dress that was better than the first one. Now that's God's favor!
At the ball, the stepmother, stepsisters and Cinderella were there and at the stroke of midnight, Cinderella runs out leaving her glass slipper behind. The prince seeks to find out who that slipper belongs to. He tried it on the stepmother, he tries it on the two stepsisters, but it doesn't fit them. So, they reluctantly try it on Cinderella, but it fits. As a result, the prince and Cinderella live happily ever after.
A moment to pause: As you can see, those who will be first will be last and those who will be last will be first. So, to encourage you my brother, my sister; Don't grow weary in doing good (despite how people will treat you), for in due season you will reap if you don't faint (remind me of this periodically). The Prince of Peace is watching over your life, just be faithful to His Word and to what He's called you to do.
I pray that all you have a prosperous 2011. God has truly been good to us despite our shortcomings, but He is faithful to forgive us, so let's launch from where we are sitting right now, and press for His high calling.