noun; a letter or the like which presents a person or thing worthy of confidence, acceptance, or favor
“To whom it may concern” is a vague yet intriguing phrase. It raises two questions: who is “whom” and with what is he “concerned”? This is the mystery I try to solve each time I write a letter of recommendation. Many a spring season brought teens to my door seeking letters of recommendation for college scholarships or summer job applications. The hope and hesitancy in their eyes was sweet. Each eager face questioned, “What will she say about me? What good have a I done that she has noticed? Will she struggle to write words of praise about me?”
I’ve often wondered what letters of recommendation would say about me in the different areas of my life? What if I needed a friendship recommendation? How would that read? Or maybe a letter recommending me for motherhood, or for the job of wife? Sometimes I worry that they might not be as flattering as I would hope.
Honestly though, there are letters of recommendation written about me everyday, yet they do not consist of ink and paper. 2 Corinthians 1:2-3 says, “The only letter of recommendation we need is yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This ‘letter’ is not written with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not carved on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.” All around use are living letters of recommendation for our lives.
Beth Moore, noted bible study author, epitomizes this verse when she says, “Our devotion to God and true religion is illustrated most poignantly on the pages of others lives. That’s where much of our story is told.” When we love God wholeheartedly and imitate Christ, we become a letter penned by Him and read by those around us. Ultimately, the people we pour our lives into become our letters of recommendation.
Who in your life is a different person, a better person, a more Christ-like person because you’ve invested in them? What do the lives of your friends, your spouse, your children say about you? Is it a letter that clearly states love, joy, peace, patience then gives evidence of each one in your life? Or is it a letter that uses ambiguous emotions and generalized compliments with no life details to back up them up?
A recommendation letter written with pen and ink will fade, but the ones we write on others’ hearts will last forever.