Called to Serve

By Marilyn Kettering Badger

June 6, 2016

Matthew 30:18-20.  Go, teach, make followers, baptize, share.

There are many in the church who have had this discipline as a part of their lives:

 Wayne Johnson grew up at Maple Grove Church of the Brethren.  He became a public school teacher with a gift from God for teaching and dedicated his life to helping children learn in the public schools.  Another of God’s gifts to him was music.  He had a beautiful voice, loved to sing and lead music especially church music.  We are so thankful also for the gift of willingness to serve.  He helped write the 1960 History of Maple Grove to celebrate an anniversary of the church.  He was single all his life but he helped many people in the church. His family was the church.

Violet Burd also was single all her life but served her Lord in many ways.  She had no sisters or brothers to learn to share with but share she did with others.  Her father passed from this earth shortly after she was born and she never really knew him.  She and her mother continued on and she became the wage earner in her home.  Life was not easy for them.  Violet was faithful at doing the church bulletin for many years as well as supplying other secretarial skills to the church. She was very musical, played the piano, and the accordion on many occasions.  She helped teach children in Sunday School.   Lying in her sick room we talked to her of her accordion and what it meant to her.  She didn’t think she could play it any more.  A friend bought it at her sale hoping to give her a reason to play it and asked her to teach us how to play it.  A couple days later she said she had laid awake thinking about it and that she didn’t think she could teach someone else. She became very ill and was told she would not survive.  She had no family left and made the statement that “her family was the church and that was so very important to her”.  We tried doing our part to ease her final days by handling her affairs for her, spending hours with her.  When she passed away her remaining estate monies came to the church - just as we were tearing down the old part of Maple Grove and building the new section of the church.  What a blessing her service to God’s church was over the years as well as when she passed to her heavenly home.  Yes, the church served her also but she sure did know how to serve it and her Lord God. Two rooms at church are dedicated to her memory.

One time, in conversation, Pauline Evel Rodgers, said, “My music, and piano playing is a great gift from God.  I want to use it for His glory.”  In talking she said she did not believe a person who has been given such a great and delightful gift should expect to be financially paid if that gift was being used to praise and bless the Lord’s work. It came from Him and should go back to Him.   What talent she had – what an insight to her servanthood.  She was a delight to many of us.  One of the singers at church once said, “She always made me sound good when I was singing.  Her gift of music repaired some of my mistakes.”  Polly was called to serve.  May we all be so willing!

A couple of gentlemen at Maple Grove (past and present) remind me of the gift I will call: can do almost anything that involves mechanical skills.  It seems they could look at something and know immediately what it was that needed to be done and how to do it.  When it was decided to put a basement under the church in 1941-42, they were some of the first to figure out the how to do it.  They were there every bit of the way jacking the building up, blasting the dirt loose and scoping out the soil to prepare for the block walls and build them.  Long, long hours were put in to get it done before freezing weather.  Gifts to God and His house.  He must smile down on such men so willing to serve Him and His church.

Most of the people who work at Maple Grove Church of the Brethren are volunteers.  Ministers and assistant minister or youth leaders have been paid over the years but the rest carry on the work to serve their Lord and Savior.  Their feet are His feet; their hands are His hands; serving those who need special servants like them.  They are our Sunday School teachers, our deacons, our trustees, our sound technicians, our various kinds of musicians, our meal cookers, servers, and clean-up people, our janitors.  They are many and numerous.  Do you remember to say “Thank You”?  Are you helping?  Are you serving?  What gifts has God given you and are you using them for His work?

Prayer:  Help us Lord to remember – we are here to be your servants! Amen       

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