I recently attended our Chamber of Commerce Horizon Business Awards event.
Since we don't have a lot of dress-up affairs in this very casual coastal community, I look forward to bringing one of my two fancy outfits from the closet. All the while I'm getting ready for the party, I'm becoming more and more excited at the anticipation of seeing so many friends and colleagues in one place at the same time.
As people arrive at Dwight Hall, a beautiful historic building constructed in 1927, it begins to vibrate with the noise of excited conversation. I'm not the only one who likes to talk!
The opening formalities are relaxed with greetings from federal, provincial and city officials. There are announcements and the annual bidding war to determine which table gets to have first chance at the buffet. Even as we dine, the master of ceremonies' gentle prodding to bid on silent auction items is ramped up.
Then comes a number of live auction items, with local businesses contributing attractive packages of goods and services. The highlight of the evening, though, is the announcement of category winners.
Over the years, I've had the privilege and experienced the thrill of seeing my name appear under several different categories. I admit I've been disappointed when I didn't win but what an honour just to have been nominated.
I was no less uplifted in spirit as I listened to our pastor describe how each one is called to support the other. Sadly, and too often, the worldwide church has engaged in warfare rather than ministering.
"But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort." 1 Corinthians 14:3 (NIV)
While business awards spur us to fierce competition, a true understanding of God's love spurs us to offer these gifts in genuine meekness.