No Gold Star from God!
As a teenager I wanted to be an abstract photographer and often entered competitions at our local boys club (not very PC these days!) and I would always rush up to my photographs to see if I had been awarded a Bronze, Silver or Gold star. The idea of anything less was unthinkable and only a Gold star with highly commended written below it would really satisfy me.
I wonder if there are times in our ministry when we look in our imagination to see if God has awarded us for our last sermon or visit. In Ephesians 2:8-10 we are reminded that our salvation is by grace through faith and not by works. I believe that is true of everything we do and are for Christ.
So sit down, get comfy and just think about that, you are the Son of God and he loves you for who you are and not what you do! He is not marking your latest sermon nor will he send and angelic Ofsted inspector to watch your latest visit or listen to your conversation with an unsaved person to make sure you win them for the Lord. No, He just loves you.
When we look through the Bible we see real people living real lives having both failure and success, making mistakes, getting it right but God always moved on their behalf. Even the Apostle Paul had to acknowledge that he struggled to get things right (Romans 7:14-25) even calling himself a wretched man (v24) but God never gave up on him, rather He used him to write much of the New Testament – much better than any gold star or special recommendation and it is just the same for us.
It is because you know His love for you that you should serve him and strive to do all that he calls you to do. There is no Gold star, just a smile from God that you will never see but should always be assured of – He loves you just because He does, not for what you do. Enjoy!