It’s easy to adopt a motto or mission statement that sounds good and is catchy to those who hear it; it’s entirely another matter to live out that mission statement in practical daily examples of Christian love. And yet, I see many examples of our mission statement, “Growing God’s Kingdom, one person at a time” on display in a variety of practical ways throughout our congregation. Let me tell you about one of them.
William Riles is a mild mannered older black gentleman who has been a part of our congregation for many years. He’s got what some might say is a ‘unique’ speaking style that requires a discriminating ear to fully understand what he’s saying sometimes. A working class man all his life, William has had his share of struggles. He suffered a stroke some years back and lost his wife of many years to cancer. Yet, his outlook on life has been to focus on what he can do for others instead of the ‘woe is me’ attitude that so many display these days! When someone is sick or hospitalized from the congregation, William is there to give a word of encouragement and cheer. When a project is in need of volunteers, William is one who can be counted on to pitch in. When a name is added to the ‘Prayer List’ William is sure to call seeking an address or phone number so that he can send a card. If someone needs a ride or has a yard that needs to be mowed; if there’s a funeral near or far, William quietly goes about doing the things that make a tremendous difference for good!
He’s not a deacon, he doesn’t head up a ministry and if I weren’t writing about him you’d probably not know many of the things he does – because he doesn’t look for or want the attention of others. But if he weren’t here quietly doing what he does in his own humble way; we’d be missing out on a great blessing! Jesus said in Matt. 20:25-28, “…whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister...”
While it’s very important to attend worship services, hear sermons and attend bible classes, the old adage is certainly true, “people won’t care how much you know until they first know how much you care!” I believe that the work of ‘growing God’s Kingdom one person at a time’ is carried out each time people like William, do the little things in the lives of others that makes a difference for good and shows us a practical example of God’s love in ways that touch people’s lives in a deep and meaningful way.
~ John Phillips Jr ~