BUDDY THE DOG AND I were out in the front yard when the UPS guy arrived yesterday evening. The gent came with a Gold Book Award I got because The Complete Guide to the Bible sold half a million copies.
Buddy was not impressed.
The guy with the box was just another warm body trespassing into Buddy’s cul de sac. Buddy thinks he owns the whole thing.
Buddy barked so much and pulled so hard that I found it tough to get him and his leash back in the house before the gent found the box in his truck.
“He’s protective,” I told the fellow as he smiled and handed me the box.
I knew it was coming, but I had no idea what it would look like. It could have been a piece of paper, for all I knew.
It turned out to be an attractive glass-looking object shaped like a book and incredibly difficult to photograph. It reflects everything around it.
I decided not to use the photo I took of it that showed me reflected, and smiling.
Too tacky. Even for me.
Prize that fell apart
When I pulled the award out of the box and felt how heavy and sturdy it was…and attractive…I remembered the first substantial award I ever got in my field.
It was the Oscar for evangelical magazines, in the category of Christian Ministry.
I edited a Bible background magazine for a denominational headquarters. The magazine was competing with some well-funded, well-known magazines in that category. One was published by the good folks at Christianity Today Inc, and it had won a lot of those “Awards of Excellence” as they were called, by the Evangelical Press Association.
I couldn’t believe the magazine I edited won.
I was so excited when they called the magazine’s name, I kind of went numb when I walked up to claim the prize.
Oddly, the prize was still in a box.
After the meeting, I hurried back to my hotel room to open it up and look inside.
I’ve seen the awards in the past, and they looked nice.
This one, however, was a piece of paper clipped to a slice of glass with four cheap clips that weren’t able to hold the thing together.
The contraption fell apart on my bed.
I never could get it to stay together.
Eventually, I gave up and bought a frame for it. A cheap one, to keep the prize in context. But not as cheap as the one it came with.
Prize that counts
I don’t say that to diss the gent who set the budget for the Evangelical Press Association’s awards that year.
Okay, maybe a little.
And I don’t say it to commend the person who set the budget for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association award I got yesterday.
But thank you, whoever you are.
These prizes are reminders, I confess, of the hard work I’ve put into my career, or ministry, or whatever you want to call what I do.
But when I look at them, I see a reminder of the real prize I’m working for.
“I’m running hard for the prize at the end of the race. One day I’ll make that prize my own because Jesus Christ made me his own” (Philippians 3:12, Casual English Bible).