Most, if not all of my life, I have been a Type A person. You know – the kind of guy who gets used to charging ahead and climbing the next hill. And so it catches my eye when I run across people who seem unusually content in circumstances that I think would trouble me. Now I don’t mean severe illness or disabilities or anything extreme – I am speaking about people who just seem to go through life without freaking out – they have the uncanny ability to really trust in the Lord and take life as it comes.
When our son, Andrew, was a very young boy, we met a lady who became his sitter for several years until she passed away. Mrs. Long was was one of those quiet, contented, creatures of God. I never heard her raise her voice, push her agenda with anyone, or say an unkind word – ever. Andrew was crazy about her – she was just one of those quiet servants of God who went about her life taking care of others and serving tirelessly. She passed away without much fanfare in the community, except for those of us who knew her so well. I remember attending her funeral and hearing the message about her life. The pastor referred to her as a “sparrow” – as opposed to an “eagle”. As he explained it, our world is full of sparrows, but the majestic eagles are the birds that catch our attention. And I think he was right. Mrs. Long wasn’t flashy – she was dependable and consistent – loving our children well throughout all the years we knew her.
My maternal grandmother was somewhat like Mrs. Long – as was my Auntie Lou – but people like this have been few and far between in my life. So it really turns my head when I meet one. And that’s exactly what happened earlier this year. I met a man who is a quiet servant of the Most High God. He works in a rather menial job – he’s in his seventies, by the way – and he lives to serve others. I have never heard Bill say an unkind word and he is an encouragement to everyone around him. You just can’t say enough about him. In fact, I find myself looking for him and trying to engage him in conversation when I am in the building. Regardless of the assignment that he has, he does it with dedication, excellence and commitment to the Lord.
And you know what? I feel better after every conversation I have with him – even if it is only for a minute or two. And then I seem to become more aware of others around me who share those same traits. Come to think of it, I just thought of two other “sparrows” who have absolutely impacted my life in quiet ways. Ron is a former Viet Nam veteran who serves tirelessly and see his role as one of praying for people. In fact, he’s a prayer warrior. Every time I am in the building, he approaches me and asks what my prayer needs are. He has struggled with his own health issues, and I have prayed for him, but he serves tirelessly as an example of a man fully dedicated to God. I am fortunate to have him in my life – even if it’s not as often as I would like.
And then there’s Max – another quiet servant of the Lord. A former educator who helps wherever and whenever he can. A gentle giant of a man who loves the Lord and has dedicated his life to improving our society and helping people to enter the kingdom of God. What a gentleman… My life has been made better through knowing all of these people. No – they may not be the loudest, most assertive, people in the room. But believe me, they make an impact in their own quiet way – and we are all better off having them in our lives.
The verse for tonight is Proverbs 19:23, “The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” Notice that the Bible doesn’t say that we won’t have any trouble – but it does promise that it won’t touch us or impact us negatively. In other words, with the Lord by our side, we can withstand anything. And the people I have written about this evening have this kind of faith! My encouragement this evening is that God wants you to aspire to this kind of commitment to Him. It may not happen overnight, but we are all on a journey toward holiness and it starts with humility and service to others. My prayer is that God will touch your heart in such a way as to help you along the path to increasing your service to others. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…