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Notes from the Lay Leader

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness." Matthew 25: 21 (NIV)

Several months ago, I went to a funeral for a longtime friend who died of leukemia. Because I am not a perfect person, my mind wanders at times when I am trying to be attentive and sit

still. My thoughts turned to Pastor Jeremy’s recent message about the main thing, and how we should always put God’s work first. Did my friend do that?

My friend had a long teaching career, and included community work, church activities, raising

his daughters. Nothing remarkable by worldly standards: no Nobel Prize, no high political office, no great American novel published.

But in addition to teaching, my friend maintained the College of Pharmacy’s greenhouse, which grows medicinal plants. Of the thousands of students my friend taught, probably very few became committed to medicinal plants. But some did, and he awakened in them a passion that can only spread.

At Ferris, he served on many committees to keep the school functioning. No great breakthroughs in education or research, but he helped promote a university that has a good

record of supporting young people who often don’t have a legacy of family members who

expect their children to pursue higher education.

In Big Rapids, he served on several boards and committees, including the one that revised the city charter several years ago. In a nation that seems now to promote disharmony and anger, the city functions quietly, imperfectly, and mostly civilly.

He was a constant and faithful presence at the Rotary Club’s chicken barbecues during the

Mecosta County Fair in July. By worldly standards, grilling chicken is not a great

accomplishment. But the local Rotary raises funds and uses them for community projects which make Big Rapids and Mecosta County a good place to live.

He didn’t belong to Big Rapids First UMC, so I can’t outline what church activities he pursued. But he was a faithful Christian, and his church makes the community a better place.

Most of us are not famous for earthly accomplishments, and never will be. But that’s not what

Jesus calls us to do. All of us can serve the community, help those around us, encourage young people while enjoying our lives and the many blessings that come with it. The quotation from Matthew refers to “servants.” We can’t know what those servants did two thousand years ago to serve their master. Surely, they had time to count their blessings, help others and enjoy their families.

Do we put our God’s work first? Do we keep the main thing the main thing? Probably not

perfectly, but we can always try. We may not be famous on earth, but think of the joy that will

come when we hear Jesus tell us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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