Monday, September 22, 2008

rewards of service

Last week I attended my Grandma's graveside memorial service. It was a perfect autumn day in the Pacific Northwest with glimpses of blue sky between tall evergreens. Grandma was buried in a little country cemetery near the home she had shared with her husband in the 1930s. Her husband's family were pioneers in an area that remains rather rural: a few homes, a school, a tavern, a church (without a pastor at the moment), and a Bible camp make up the community.

As we left the service, my best friend said to me, "Your family is here because of you." We were walking towards the Bible camp where a luncheon was being held for Grandma's family members and friends. I had to think awhile about what my friend meant.

When I was thirteen, I was asked to volunteer in the kitchen at Bible camp. The hours were long but I found it fun, and I returned the next summer for several weeks, and by the time I was eighteen I spent the entire summer at camp, volunteering in various capacities depending on the week's guests. The rewards of working at Bible camp were obvious: fun times and good friends. (In fact, I met both my best friend and my husband at camp.) I had to move on to paid employment when I was nineteen, but my dad retired that year and suddenly he was interested in volunteering at camp.

When my mom died, my dad was lonely and went to camp every chance he could. A new manager came to camp and my dad adopted the manager's family when my husband and I moved far away. Last spring, that manager and his family helped my dad with his final move to an assisted living center. When my dad died, the camp manager spoke at the graveside service, and offered the camp as a location for the memorial service. My dad's family was impressed with the service and my two organized aunts got the camp manager's phone number, saving it for a future need.

That need was last week's service. The same camp manager spoke at Grandma's memorial service, sharing the good news of Jesus with my family--many of whom have never shown much interest in spiritual things.

Without the contact with the camp manager, who would my family have called on for the service? Where would we have gathered for lunch (none of us live in the area)?

When I was thirteen, I didn't think I had much to offer. I didn't think I had any talents, and when I worked at camp I was just the kitchen "go-fer", not even a cook--yet the choice I made to serve that week eventually resulted in fifty people sitting in a sunny cemetery hearing about Jesus.

Lord, remind me to keep serving You.

1 comment:

Julie D said...

Wow! We never know what "today" is preparing us for, do we? Makes me stop and think about what I'm doing (or not doing) TODAY that will effect tomorrow.

BTW..thanks for your prayers!