We lost a good friend a few days ago. Monday we attended the celebration of his life. And what a celebration it was!
The members of his family numbered many — wife, three sons and their families, many grandchildren, sisters, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews.
And his family extended to an overflowing number of friends, former Marine buddies, young men he’d coached in Little League or taken under his wing, former co-workers, numerous people he had helped.
As I listened to stories shared by his three sons and others, I began to look inside myself. Questioning my time spent as God’s servant.
Do I do enough? Do I overlook opportunities to serve? Do I do what He calls me to do? Where can I find my answers?
One last story was told, and it held the answer. An African-American gentlemen, whom I did not remember from our days in this small church, stood and took the microphone.
And here is his story:
I remember my first Sunday here. He was ushering and was the first to greet me. Never hesitating he extended that strong hand of his and welcomed me in. He walked with me into this room [the sanctuary] and told me I could sit anywhere I wanted to. That was the quality in him I will always remember: he saw no color, no difference, no prejudice. He just saw people.
Simple as that — he just saw people.
Our good friend constantly saw people who needed something, anything. And he answered God’s call by providing whatever those people needed.
Today we are so anxious about our own needs we often overlook the simple needs of others.
As I listened to the beautiful litany of provisions for others our now deceased friend had given in his 84 years. And not once did he neglect family, military duty, his work, or his church home to serve God and others.
His Christianity was at work at home, on the job, in the Marines, at church, wherever God needed him.
He was a man called to see people and to answer their needs.
What about you, friend? Do you seize opportunities to serve when you see them, or are you, like me, all too often focused on what you have to do? If you have a way to stay present in your life while serving others as you see their need, won’t you please share it in the comments below?