I once had the honor of traveling to Bali, Indonesia for work. (Yep. Missionary life has its perks sometimes.) My boss, his wife and a small team of us traveled to the exotic locale and conducted a series of workshops and consulting sessions. We were at a number of hotels and Bed & Breakfasts while in the country but one remains burned into my memory.
We were approaching the end of our trip. We had one last weekend session to accomplish. We arrived early, unpacked and set to work. My roommate Rebecca was on logistics and we were finishing the room set up when approached by the hotel manager. He was pleasant and said there had been a mix up with our room; with our permission they would like to move us to a different section of the hotel.
We walked back to our room, gathered our valuables out of the safe and followed him. We chatted as we walked across the expansive hotel grounds - through lush gardens, past the open air restaurant, expansive multi-sectioned pool (with waterfall), and just before we reached the ocean front we slipped through an inconspicuous gap in a wooden wall. “We hope you find it pleasant” said the manager.
Pleasant?! It was luxurious and extravagant! We were standing beside a bungalow with floor to ceiling sliding windows, a private outdoor lap pool (with waterfall), cabana, outdoor dining area, a porch with ceiling fans…
“Um, there must be some mistake,” said Rebecca in her soft South African accent. “We are part of a team. We should be with our team.”
The manager explained that our leaders were on the other side of the plumeria covered wall. The suite had been reserved for another VIP but, unfortunately, they had to cancel. He was told we were the featured keynote’s assistants so we were upgraded to be closer in proximity. We smiled in appreciation, gave our thanks and controlled our jubilation and excitement until after he had slipped back through the wall. Wahooo! Happy Dance! Talk about favor - this was lavish, unexpected, opulent, over the top A-Mazing!
The bungalow was so expansive we had the entire TEAM over - meetings took place on our porch, the post trip debrief was in our living room; we shared our blessing over and over and over and over.
I was reflecting on this memory and recalled it wasn’t me, the upgrade had nothing to do with me - who I was, my talents, gifting or attributes. It was all about who I knew, who I was associated with, who I worked for, and the “intimacy” of that acquaintance. Because I had spent time, would be spending time, I was upgraded.
Intimacy upgrades. Not just with hotels but in life with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. As you become trusted, known, integral, more is revealed, shared, unveiled. It is a sign of favor and esteem.
I want favor; upgrades with God and man. I want to know and be known. The VIP bungalow is an amazing memory - but it is just that, a memory. I want intimacy upgrades to continue - and to do that I need to spend time, invest time, devote time to the One who can give them, bring them, bestow them.
God rewards those who diligently seek him. I have more than one memory to prove it!