Dear Fellow Children of God,
At the National Youth Gathering I went to the “Kindle” booth and talked to founder, Bill Karpenko. Bill was a long time Director of Christian Education who served as the leader of the Church Relations office of Valparaiso University for many years. “Kindle” is an organization Bill founded promoting and encouraging Christian Servant Leadership. Bill helped to mentor my children Josh and Mary, so he gave me an armband and some literature to give to Josh and Mary as Christian servant leaders.
But, Bill and I got to talking about what Kathy was doing at the Gathering. He was amazed and he gave me an armband and told me to commend Kathy for her servant leadership.
You see, Kathy ended up with an unexpected job at the Gathering. She was assigned to help in the Gathering office, of which we were thankful. Walking long distances quickly can be tough for Kathy’s hip and back. So, as she greeted people coming to the Gathering Office there seemed to be a consistent problem. The backpacks received by the 25,000 people who registered for the Gathering were coming apart at the seams, especially where the straps attached.
Kathy just happened to have her sewing machine. I had actually questioned Kathy about bringing her sewing machine to the Gathering. “When do you think you’ll find time to sew?” I asked. “We usually work as Community Life Builders from 6:30 a.m. till after midnight each day? When will you sew?” But, she had it with her, just in case.
“Just in case” meant that Kathy ended up bringing her sewing machine to the Gathering office on Sunday and sewed backpacks from 8:00 a.m. till about 5:30 p.m. Then, on Monday she kept count. Kathy repaired 230 backpacks in 8 hours. If you figure that out, it means Kathy repaired about one backpack every two minutes! No wonder her hands were cramping when she quit on Sunday evening! In my mind, and I know I am biased on this matter, if anyone deserved, or deserves, commendation as a servant leader, Kathy does. She especially did for the Gathering.
Jesus calls all Christians to lives of humble service, following His example. You can read Matthew 20:25-28, but, please consider these words of God through Paul found in Philippians 2. Philippians was the theme book for this year’s National Youth Gathering. “5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Do you hear all the ways that Jesus humbled himself in order that He might serve us and save us? Jesus is God with the Father, but He left heaven – for us. Jesus is God with the Father, but he became human – for us. Jesus is God who gave the law, but Jesus humbled Himself to obey the law He created – for us. Jesus is the Creator and author of life, but Jesus died a torturous, shameful death – for us!
So, we are told, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:” God calls us to servanthood as followers of Jesus. But, one of the morning Bible studies talked about “the Me Monster” and pointed out how easy it is for us to indulge ourselves instead of serving God and others. Servanthood and humility do not always come easily.
Yet, when a leader serves, others tend to follow. I’ve talked to my wife. (Imagine that!) I know she believes in Jesus as her loving Savior and follows Jesus because of what He did for her. So, as she follows Jesus, Kathy serves and leads others. She witnesses to them about Jesus through her attitude and her actions of service, even when she doesn’t realize she is doing so.
When Kathy started sewing backpacks on Sunday morning she didn’t realize that in the next two days she would repair 400-500 backpacks. But, she not only has the knowledge and skills to sew, she loves helping others, even if she doesn’t always realize at the moment she is doing so. That’s how she also serves in our home, in our congregation, at work. Kathy leads by serving, because Jesus loves and served her.
You know, I think Kathy does deserve a Kindle award!
A Child of God, In Awe of the Servant Leadership of my wife,
P.S. Here are some pictures of Kathy sewing backpacks at the National Youth Gathering. https://picasaweb.google.com/114993745799525883148/6309608721791966609
P.P.S. Here are some more pictures from the National Youth Gathering. https://picasaweb.google.com/114993745799525883148/6309607896529591873
P.P.P.S. Next week I may tell an “interesting” story from the golf course . . . or maybe not. We’ll see.
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.