When I was a music teacher, I had student teachers, observers, and classroom helpers that would ask me to write a letter of recommendation for their upcoming opportunities in the teaching world. Before writing, I would think of that person’s good qualities, achievements, and characteristics. I always tried to be honest, extremely optimistic, and most often, wrote in hopes that their goal of a new opportunity would be achieved. The Apostle Paul talks about a different kind of letter of recommendation. This letter is not a reflection of our own achievements and good qualities, but a reflection of the Holy Spirit.
“Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:1-3
Recently, I read this passage and the first thing that came to mind was, I didn’t even know they had letters of recommendation during that time, and then the realization of what Paul was saying hit me. Paul saw what God had done in the lives of the Corinthians. They were truly born again, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and were now living a life for Christ instead of living in their own rebellious nature. This reflected that what Paul was doing in his leading people to Christ was evident and his letter of recommendation were in the people and their response to God. It also showed what Paul was doing was working, and His calling of leading others to Jesus was being fulfilled. The people were the letters.
This work that Paul was doing was acknowledge, not by his works, but by the Spirit of the living God and Him alone. It was simply by the power that lived within him, that Paul knew where this ability came from.
“Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-5
Sometimes, we want our letters of recommendation for the kingdom of God to be full of all our great qualities and attributes. But only God and the power of His Spirit can bring radical change and repentance. It is by the leading of His Spirit that we are able to do the things that He has set before us, not our own great qualities. Or, if you have felt that your letter or recommendation might not have enough credentials for the work of the kingdom, think again! You are qualified to do the Lord’s work, because it is not by your qualifications, but by your surrender to Holy Spirit leading! Let Him work in you, and do not be hesitant of spreading the gospel, because God has already written you a letter of recommendation, and it lives inside of you.