Time now to show you my last Valentine. Of course, it's little Ella. Here she is wearing the crown that she made, in her tutu, and giving you some valentine flowers. As her her caregivers two days a week, she has been in our home and our hearts since she was three months old. It was with us that she learned to crawl and to chew solid food, and she has certainly enriched our lives. At age three, Ella has many traits that a lot of people never develop. She is extremly generous and sympathetic, and everyone she meets is her good friend. The world would be a better place if everyone were like that. She had a lot of fun making this crown, and even more fun wearing it. 2 tim. 4: 7,8 says: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing." The winners of the Roman athletic games won laurel wreaths. It was a symbol of a winner and a high honor, and it was the most sought after prize. So maybe this is what Paul meant by "crown". Are you one of those who has never won anything? Well, can you tell me the names of the Nobel Prize winners or the Pulitzer Prize winners five years ago? I know I can't. Have you heard about how many past their prime, down on their luck actors have actually had to pawn or sell their Oscars? Their awards are gone, and we don't even remember their names. Their career and skills amounted to nothing in the end. If we never win anything our whole lives, it matters not, because it all fades away. We want to win the one that never does.
"And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away." 1 Peter 5:4