Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Making a Difference

The Rev. Jeannette Flynn caught my attention recently when she challenged church leaders to rediscover some old truths and reopen the wells of our fathers. She acknowledged that the body of Believers to which she (and I) belong is “intentionally committed to relational activity as a people.”

She insisted, however, that she was not talking about a return to denominational loyalty. She wanted us to live out “the Great Commission and the Great Commandment” and refuse “to be self-sufficient.” She asked that we “tear down” our “false god of distorted autonomy and reclaim our birthright as brothers and sisters who will hear, believe, love, and serve together for the greater good of ‘God’s kingdom!”

I have always believed we achieve more in community than in fragmentation. I have never understood how we proclaim Christian unity as a core value while relegating other believers to a secondary denominational level.

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful day if we all practiced the Bible we defend so pugnaciously? I like what Paul wrote in his letter to Ephesus. Unload the bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander…along with all malice. Rather, “be imitators of God, as beloved children” and “walk in love, just as Christ also loved you. . .” (4:31-5:2)

I am justifiably proud of a young member of the class of 2009 in north Minneapolis. He received this commendation to assist him into college. The teacher wrote as follows:

"It is very exciting for me to write this letter of recommendation for___. I have been teaching and coaching in Fridley for over 20 years and it is a real pleasure to have a student like ___. D___ exhibits many qualities that are not seen very often in today’s generation. He is determined to making himself the best he can be in all his endeavors.

"He is also working with those around him to guide them to find their personal success. D___ is committed to the process and involvement in the task at hand while keeping an eye on the end result. I have witnessed the positive effects D___ has on students in the class room, hallways, and cafeteria and in the athletics. D___’s willingness to get out of his comfort zone and promote healthy risk taking has made him a true leader in our school.

"He has demonstrated many star qualities (cooperation, compassion, generosity) that have benefited the classes D___ has been in. He is very good at keeping it in perspective for himself as well as his classmates and peers."

What pleases me most about this is his willingness to make everyone else personally successful while he strives for his best. That is the mark of a true follower of Jesus!

Rob Noonan lives in Toledo, Ohio. I’ve never met Rob, but I think I would like him as a neighbor. With the downturn of the economy and the emptying out of Toledo‘s downtown office buildings, Noonan got pink-slipped on his $140,000-a-year construction management job.

Mind you, although the credit markets froze, Noonan continued showing up at work. “He remains one man working without pay in a cluster of vacant cubicles, trying to make something out of nothing” (emphasis mine).

We cannot all be as generous as Rob Noonan, but we can all demonstrate cooperation, compassion, and generosity to those we encounter, and we can work with people around us to guide them in finding their personal success. It is not as much about making money as it is about making a difference.
This is Wayne in Warner’s World

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