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The Thin Blue Life

Character Development

A Cop’s Ultimate Award Commendation

A Cop's Ultimate Award Commendation
Image Credit: RDNE Stock Project from Pexels

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant…Let’s celebrate together!’” (Matthew 25:21)

As police officers, awards and commendations are given for valor, outstanding police work; length of service, being wounded in the line of duty (the police purple heart), retirements and more. Our award ceremonies are a big deal (well, at least for the brass and our families, of course). Sadly, we joke (sort of) that it takes 10 “atta-boys” to equal a single “rip” (write up; “Come in and shut the door” meeting with the Chief or IA, etc.)?

In my own career, I won a lot of awards but never really sought them (although, like anyone, I hoped to be recognized for doing good work). In fact, because of some really bad “leaders”, positive recognition seemed to just get me in more trouble <sigh>. But we should not be serving in law enforcement for “awards” (medals, certificates, plaques…). Certainly in my case, my goal was never about recognition but rather seeking to make a real difference fighting against evil and for those who couldn’t fight for themselves (each and every day). And I was very much aware that once my time on “the Job” came to an end, I would be forgotten soon thereafter (a sad truth in our God-ordained but sin-sick profession that also has a nexus to police suicide).

Then, when I came to a genuine saving faith in Christ (the ultimate Servant-Warrior, “Police Chief” and “Command-in-Chief”), I finally had an “award” goal I truly wanted: to one day stand (kneel) before my Lord and hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (versus the “other side of the coin” that no one should ever want to hear and what I deserved had I not turned to Christ in faith — stay with me).

So, how can we get invited to the ultimate award ceremony for the chief of all commendation letters? Where do these words of commendation come from (and mean)? And why should it matter (it does — a LOT)? Well, glad you asked! So, how can we get invited to the ultimate award ceremony for the chief of all commendation letters? Where do these words of commendation come from (and mean)? Click To Tweet

In Matthew 25 of our “policy and procedure manual” we know as the Bible, Jesus shared a parable (the Parable of the Talents) about a “master” and three trusted servants (think a Chief or Commander, and three officers under his command) to paint a word-picture about how we should live as we wait for His return. In this case, the master in this story had to go out of town and left his three “officers” (servants) large sums of tradable cash to invest or otherwise spend wisely. These are counted using the measure of “talents,” which in the ancient world was an enormous weight of precious metals. A single talent might have been as much as a common laborer could earn in twenty years.

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The master (chief) then returned some time later (the context seems to indicate that it was a long time) met with his servants to see what they did with their assignments and the money he gave them when he left.

The first servant has made his report. He used his master’s five talents to earn another five talents. The master trusted the servant with great wealth, and the servant earned the equivalent wealth for his master.

How did the master respond? He called his servant “good and faithful” and exclaimed, “Well done!” He rewarded his servant in two ways. First, he tells the servant that because he has been faithful over a little, he will make the servant responsible for a great deal more (think promotion and a raise).. Second, he welcomes the servant to share in his own personal joy. In other words, the master welcomes the servant into a closer connection to himself, managing more of his own estate, and walking in joyful relationship with him.

Jesus is showing us that those who use what He gives to them to increase what is His (it is ALL His) will also be rewarded with greater opportunity and joy when He returns.

Frankly, this is something that every true believer in Christ (a Christian as He alone gets to define it) should strive and long for when we finally stand before Him in heaven after death or rapture.

Now again, let me be clear: we can’t “earn” heaven (or escape hell) by our so-called “good” deeds or service in law enforcement (regardless of the number of worldly commendations and awards we earn in law enforcement) or anything else. On the contrary, God is clear in His Word that we are NOT saved by any “work” we do but rather by grace alone through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8–9). However, we ARE saved for “good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus also spoke of laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20), and His Parable of the Talents also hints at various rewards (crowns, medals) for those who faithfully serve Him in this world.

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But please understand, the ONLY way anyone can hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” from King Jesus is by first being saved (born again in Christ alone — John 3:1-21, 14:6). Those unbelievers who reject Christ’s free (for us) officer of salvation will NEVER hear those words! Hebrews 11:6 assures us that without a genuine, saving faith in Christ alone, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God (or receive any kind of reward).

So how can we serve God in such a way that, when our time comes (and it IS coming), we will in fact receive our “Well done…!” commendation? Consider the following:

(1) First, we MUST repent and come to a genuine, saving faith in Christ — to answer Jesus’ call to “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15) by being radically born again in Him alone (and see, What does it mean to “repent and believe”?).

(2) Then (and only then) once you’ve come to genuine saving faith in Christ (a Christian as only He gets to define it), begin to regularly pray (talking to God) and study His Word (the Bible).

(3) Get baptized AFTER you come to faith (baptism does NOT save you but it is an important act of obedience).

(4) Get planted in a solid body of other Christians (aka, “church”) where God’s Word is taught soundly and without compromise. Surround yourself with other believers. Start to SERVE in your church (including church security for which we are uniquely trained). No, church attendance is NOT “optional” and yes, many good churches have something going almost every day of the week (just because we work on Sunday does not give us a “pass”).

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(5) Ask God to send you a mature believer (think “FTO”) to disciple (Christian mentorship, field training) you in your new faith.

(6) Begin to share you faith (the Gospel) with others (again, the Great Commission is not the little suggestion or some kind of “optional” thing for Christians). See “How can I shared my faith with others?”

(7) Serve and live obediently, righteously, courageously and honorably both on and off duty. Be the faithful spouse God has called you to be. Lead your children by example. For us in law enforcement, God has in fact ordained us to be His sworn “ministers” (the original Greek word is simply translated as “servant”) for “good” (the law abiding) and a lawful terror against evil (the lawless and those who seek to prey on the innocent and weak) — Romans 13:1-4.

Friend, it comes down to this: love God more than anything, and love/serve others sincerely (Mark 12:30–31). At the Judgment (Bema) of Christ, those who are faithful to the Lord who saved them will rightly hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” No true servant of the Lord could ask for more (I in fact long to hear those words from my Savior and Lord). And know this: all glory for any “well done” commendations rests on Him alone. Frankly, without what Christ did for us on the cross, we all deserve an eternal “life sentence” in hell.

And speaking of hell, you do NOT want to hear the other set of words reserved for those who pass from this life having rejected Christ as Lord and Savior: “I never knew you, depart from me you worker of iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

At the end of our lives, we will ALL will all stand before Jesus to give an account. Believer and unbeliever alike will one day kneel and confess that Jesus is Lord (the unbeliever will then “believe” but will not be saved — and will ultimately face judgement and eternal punishment in hell — see “What is the Great White Throne Judgment”). I beg you…please don’t choose that path.

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Friend, God put us on this earth for a purpose (His purpose). His desire is that “none should perish” (end up in hell) but rather that all would come to repentance and faith (2 Peter 3:9). He truly wants you to be at the greatest awards ceremony of all time so that you can hear, “Well done…” while giving Him all the glory and praise.

Yet tragically, many still reject Him. As I share often, ours is a true mission field of a profession. My heart aches for the lost, and part of my call is to do all I can to share the hope I have in Christ with them (and especially those in our very special profession).

Accordingly, and as I shared in this message, the key to hearing “Well done, good and faith servant” starts with coming to repentance and a genuine saving faith in Christ alone (no “other way” — John 14:6, Acts 4:12). Do you have that? Do you know Him as Lord and Savior? Are you sure? If not, it is again with a “Code 3” (lights and siren) sense of urgency that I implore you to get right with God today.

Primary references (outside the Bible, of course).

(2) Got Questions Ministries.
(3) The commentaries of David Guzik and Warren Wiersbe.

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Michael "MC" Williams is a 35-year law enforcement veteran who recently retired at the rank of Detective/Criminal Investigator. MC continues to write, train and present to law enforcement professionals and others around the country. He's the founder and director of the Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry (

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