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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)

TITLE: Back Order
By Al Boyce


Not long ago, I was tracking down a missing shipment of some IBM equipment at work. After a few phone calls, a friendly voice informed me, "Oh, you'll need to go through the Fulfillment Department. Let me connect you."

She put me on hold .... for a long, long time.

On hold for fulfillment, I thought. How appropriate. Aren't we always waiting to be fulfilled?

By the time I'd heard every song on the hold music twice, I finally reached the Fulfillment Department. It turned out I was still a long way from fulfillment.

Once I supplied the invoice number, order number and parts number, they were able to confirm the order had been received. Unfortunately, someone here had later called to make changes in the order, so IBM couldn't honor the originally promised shipment date.

"Please hold while we transfer you to shipping," the Fulfillment Department woman said pleasantly.

As I listened to set #3 of the on-hold music, I wondered why this whole experience seemed eerily familiar. It seemed like I had just been hearing about -- or maybe reading about -- someone in this same position, someone who lost a promise because they were unable to keep their part of the bargain.


The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. - Deuteronomy 28:9 (NIV)

We didn't keep those commands. We wanted to amend the contract; nitpick the service level agreement; quibble over the cost.

God patiently put the order on hold and placed the parts in His storehouse (no doubt next to the snow and the hail).


I got through to the Shipping Department and explained our problem.

They apologized for not being able to ship the order, but added, "There is a bright side to all this. Those parts have come down considerably in price since the original invoice, so if you still want them, you'll save quite a bit."


We humans couldn't afford the price of the Old Covenant. We couldn't follow all the laws; couldn't abandon our idols long enough to have fellowship with God.

Now the cost has come down. Jesus has bought up our inventory of sin and is offering salvation at bargain-basement prices.

All we have to do is believe.


I confirmed the order with the Shipping Department. They were more than happy for our business, even at the lower cost.

And God is thrilled to have us back. Even the renegotiated prices represent a tremendous "savings" to Him.

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This article has been read 1534 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sharon Singley04/13/06
ahhh...good analogy!
L.M. Lee04/13/06
love the "snow & hail" good chuckle
Suzanne R04/15/06
Clever analogies there - well done.
Jan Ackerson 04/17/06
It turned out I was still a long way from fulfillment.

I love the wit in this line, and in several others. Devotionals are so hard to do entertainingly without sacrificing meaningfulness, and you've nailed it! Good job.

Beth Muehlhausen04/18/06
This is the clincher to think about: "On hold for fulfillment, I thought. How appropriate. Aren't we always waiting to be fulfilled?"

Interesting way you cut and pasted this story together!!

Debbie OConnor04/18/06
Great job. I love the message, and having just spent hours on the phone with my cable internet people only to be left unfulfilled it hit close to home. I don't think they had a fulfillment department! :)

A very creative and well written lesson.
Linda Watson Owen04/19/06
What a unique and interesting comparison! As usual, you've held your reader, enlightening and entertaining all at the same time!