Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ramblings on a deliberate / random? act of kindness received

A few days ago I got an email from someone I first met many years ago (when he was a young man). He is older now and married and we were never close or talked that much except when we first met (in a special / exclusive classroom setting). And mainly on the subject matter we were studying. Back then I had a very positive impression of him - very smart yet very humble but most importantly very passionate about God and ministry. But also there was something about him that stood out to me - though I never could pin it down.

Later on, a few years later I met his father and mother at a conference (on a totally different subject) and had a better understanding in part of why he gave me such a good impression. His parents were the old fashioned godly and down to earth people who held dear traditional values of hard work, thrift, respect for others etc. His father was a school teacher who was dedicated to his job and the very rare handful that refused to give tuition for money (hence he remained poor). But I digress ... as usual :-)

Anyway, I bumped into him a few months when I was back in Malaysia as he had joined my former church. We had a few quick words and I think he was surprised that I remembered his name! Hahaha! Surprised me too as if I don't see someone for a long time I struggle with names and even faces - poor memory Must be due to not being punished in school in a certain way?! LOL! If you didn't get the joke in that last sentence, never mind ....

Anyway he e-mailed me about matter, and I replied and then he replied back and this paragraph that he wrote blew me away!

Paul, even though I was not ministered by you directly, I would like to thank you for every thing you've done at ____ during your time here.
Your labour of love is not in vain as lives have been touched and changed through your ministry.
Thank you for all the effort you've put in.

No wonder he stood out in my mind out of all the hundreds upon hundreds of people I have met! His words touched me very deeply - two pronged kind of poke!

First of course  it is nice to be recognized for my hard work and thanked for it! I have learned never to expect such thanks as if I do, I will not be able to function because it seldom comes. But I am not complaining. For me it us part of the package deal in being a Pastor. A pastor after all, setting aside stuff like the call etc is being paid to do spiritual work! And the call is such, it is also about DUTY.

Luke 17:7-10   7 "Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'?  8 Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'?  9 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" 

Secondly and more importantly for me his words were like a like a "word from God". His words are based on what I think has biblical roots though I am not going to point out Bible verses as it would be embarrassing for me.... Anyway ... It was a powerful word from God to me - an example of spirituality and greatness of heart that I need to learn from and emulate. 

I do try my best to thank and appreciate those who have ministered to me directly but it had never really crossed my mind to personally thank those who ministered and blessed the church before my time. Yes, I do recognize and even make mention of those who have ministered before me in general terms BUT NEVER have I made any effort to thank them personally. Of course I comfort myself with the fact that I mostly do not know who these people are but still .... it is a good thing to do!

Anyway ... with up and coming leaders like him, the church is in good hands!

Anyway (not my current favourite word - think I abuse the word "anyway" :-)), I think it is a great thing to do and add to my list of things to incorporate into my life. 

And on a side note, my "policy" of making special effort to try to appreciate those who minister to me is reaping me benefits. I e-mailed a speaker I heard a few weeks ago to thank him (in detail) for his message and the result is an offer from him to have a cup of coffee and conversation (still working on our schedules). I hope he can also come to speak at my church next year.

If you are interested to know why I found this speaker fascinating, check out the links below ... His name is Tim Keel (and he is one of the lesser known founders of the Emergent Village conversation). His message RESONATED (yes, still one of my current favourite words) within me as he says it so much better than what I have struggled for almost 25 years now to explain to people about evangelism and conversion)!

First link is his audio message and the second is his paper (on which his message was based - but it is not the text of his message)

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