Do you recognize these two yahoos? Me neither, I just needed a picture for this blog and I found them.
I WANT that T-shirt.
Anyway, there actually is a reason why I have a picture of two guys there. Its because I was reminded of a childhood experience of mine. In the process, two names came to mind. A father and son. Walt (the father) and Gary (the son) Hobson. Except for folks in my family, you’ve probably never heard of either one of them. Gary, graduated college and became a parole officer here in Rochester. He has also written several children’s books and articles for various Christian publications. Walt never achieved that. He was a very humble man with basic skills. Two men you’ve never heard of. Not very remarkable men in the ordinary sense. Two men who impacted my life.
The year I entered 5th grade, our family moved from one side of Rochester to another. We changed churches at the same time. Out on Fisher Rd., in Chili, was a little struggling congregation, The Foursquare Gospel Church. A part of a fairly large and respected Pentecostal denomination. Another man you never heard of was Pastor there, Ronald May. A fine, fine Bible teacher, and a genuine man of God. He pastored this little, little known church, where my Mom & Dad had decided they wanted to come along side and help.
The building was serviceable, but not ritzy. Old, clean, but nothing outwardly attractive. Shortly after we got there, they built a front addition on to give the pastor an office and add some classrooms and new bathrooms. It would be years later before we had a more conventionally attractive facility.
Why in the world am I telling you all this? Let me go back to the Hobsons. You see, for somewhere near 10 years, one or the other of them was my Sunday School teacher. And the majority of that time, I was either the only one in my class, or there were at the most (intermittently) 2 others. But every week, month after month, year after year, that Church under Pastor May, and those men, never failed to provide me with a prepared, thought out Bible lesson. Even though they knew full well I would probably be the only there, and under duress at that. I am sure they regularly discussed whether or not it was worth it. Should they send me in with some others? Close the class altogether? Just forget it, because the student really doesn’t even want to be there? Stop preparing because nothing was getting through? Find a more fruitful way for the Hobsons to use their gifts? No. They came each week. Sometimes it must have been in the deepest discouragement. And they, by whatever means they had, poured God’s Word and their own lives into mine.
If either of them ever complained, I never knew it. If either one resented it, I never knew that either. How many times they quit or at least thought about it or discussed it – no one will ever know but them. But I owe them. Their example of simple, God honoring, Christ exalting, self-sacrifice and faithfulness are unforgettable and divinely kissed gifts I praise my God for more often then they will ever know. The congregation where I serve as one of the under-shepherds, the folks on the Today’s Manna list (for those of you who remember it) , those on my Walk in Wisdom list, the churches where I’ve been privileged to preach and teach in other states and even over seas all share this common reality – that little Church, and the commitment of its Pastor and those Teachers to Sunday School, were foundational and formative in my spiritual growth. People they will never know till Heaven, have reaped the benefits.
I do not know what area of service to other Christians God may have given to you. But I want to encourage you today by reminding you, you do not know the lives you are affecting by the generous gift of your time and effort. But the commitment you have made to pour God’s Word and YOUR lives in to the lives of others has eternal consequences. Whether it be one, two, ten, twenty or forty – they are Christ’s and ministering to them can never be taken lightly. They may or may not receive you. They may not want to be there – or listen. They may kick and scream and think it all foolish. But it is never a waste. And always a work for eternity. Keep giving Christ. Keep giving the Word. Do not measure results by human responses right now. Wait to find out how the seeds brought forth fruit in eternity – and keep on sowing!