Day 29 - Pauses for Lent - Serve


Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.
My favorite memories of Asbury UMC in rural Prentiss County Mississippi is rising at 5:00 AM on the first Sunday of the month. My Dad and I would hop in his old pickup and drive to church for the United Methodist Men’s breakfast. We’d unload the bacon, ham, sausage, eggs, etc. and then we’d start to cook breakfast. I’d get to cook the sausage and eggs. Daddy would handle rest. He’d let me drink coffee, so strong you’d think it would walk. The men would come drink coffee, eat, have a devotional or guest speaker, talk about things needed fixed around the church, things needed doing for our elderly, missions projects for the church (time to go back to Virgin Islands and build another concrete block church), and talk about raising money to send a kid from a poor family to Camp Lake Stephens.
My Dad never became a lay speaker. He never preached. He led the senior adult Sunday school class but they did most of the teaching. With wise men like Victor Hall who’d pretty much memorized the New Testament he didn’t need to. I realize now that I’m a father that most things I learned from daddy I learned by watching. Watching how he was always the first to help, the last to leave. How he’d go out of his way to help someone, slipping them money when they were in need, even when he was laid off for 4 years and money was tight. How he never sought recognition but just quietly served. It was simple, plain and came from his heart.
Daddy would never be considered great by worldly standards. But I believe he was great in the ways that mattered. He was a servant at heart and that was a legacy he gave me and others. I see it in other young men who worked for him. Servanthood begets servanthood.
May I, we leave such a legacy and in so doing follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev. Stephen Sparks, Senior Pastor, Maples Memorial UMC (Olive Branch)

320 Briarwood Drive
Jackson, MS 39206
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