The world loves individuals who achieve great things. We have a “Hall of Fame” for almost every endeavour! I too appreciate great individuals but I am convinced that no one person is solely responsible for such achievement. We all walk sidewalks paved by someone else. We all stand on the shoulders of others. There is a lot to be humble about!
Yesterday I attended the funeral of one, on whose shoulders I stand. When we first thought of planting a church, that eventually became Up Town, Fred and Joan joined our team. They were then well retired and the world would not think less of them if they didn’t join this new venture. Every Sunday night they showed up! They exemplified faithfulness both to God and one another. They stood out as distinct among the people of Up Town who had never witnessed such fidelity. Both Fred and Joan took time to love the street folks who came. They did not judge but never wavered from their own scripture informed values. Fred would encourage me when I did things well. To hear him say “That is just how Mr. Gardiner would do it!” was the highest compliment. He would also gently admonish me when he thought I was being irreverent (This is a fault I have sometimes when trying to be relevant). Most of all they prayed for me.
I am convinced that but not for Fred and Joan I would not be working with Street Hope. I clearly stand on their shoulders! There are many others whose lives have encouraged me.
A few weeks ago a friend told me of his encounter with a young woman from my youth group from 30 years ago. She is a hospital chaplain now and somehow she sees our time together as formative for her ministry.
All this reminds me that we do not know what affect, on others our lives might be. We ought never despise those opportunities to be an example and an encouragement. We may not know this side of the veil what can be accomplished through us.
When we returned from vacation our Street Hope freezer had come unplugged. This week a number of individuals stepped up and refilled it. One of the great blessings was a local Baptist Church which richly blessed us. We have hope that this might provide us an opportunity to build friendly relationships between Street Hope and this particular church.