Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Milk Man


One of the principles of the Christian life is to serve. If you are not sure where to get started, I can offer a suggestion; Be Like George! To find out how, read this entry from January 7, 2007.

The phone rang last night and George was on the other end. George, an elderly brother in my congregation, needed help this afternoon and asked if I was available. Normally, I would have had to decline due to school work responsibilities but since the semester doesn't begin until tomorrow, I accepted his offer and met him at our church building at 1:30 PM. I have worshipped with George and his lovely wife, Reba, for nine years but I learned more about him in three hours today than in the almost decade since Houston became my home. I found out he was in the military and graduated from Texas A+M. Like me, he has lived in Nebraska, as well as Oklahoma and Kansas. George and Reba were married in 1949, the same year as my folks and they have one daughter. He had a successful business career and his family has been a part of our church since its inception in 1963. That's a profile that would fit many folks. What I really learned about this afternoon was George's mission. He is in charge of the food pantry at our congregation, the Westbury church of Christ, that feeds and clothes five hundred families per month. I was along with George as we picked up milk that was donated by Borden's at two different downtown supermarkets. His old pickup has 168,000 miles, racked up almost exclusively from back and forth trips to grocery stores. As we filled up six refrigerators in our pantry with milk, cottage cheese, and eggnog, George told me about the work that is part of his life. Bread, vegetables and fruits, and milk are distributed on Tuesdays and Thursdays as the poor come to be fed. We also try to feed them spiritually by setting up Bible studies with those who are willing. Translators from our Hispanic congregation assist when interpreters are needed. George rattled off his list of volunteers who help him but he admitted you almost have to be retired to be the leader of this sort of effort. George is eighty-one years old and says he is trying to groom a replacement. A clone won't be easy to find. George took the reins several years ago from Bill Sellars who was also in his eighties when he relinquished the post. I am convinced George won't hand it over to just anyone. The problem is, the Georges of the world are a rare breed.

When I was a high school basketball coach and someone in our admissions office would tell me there was a new girl interested in playing basketball, I never became too excited. You don't win championships with players that are interested. You win with players that are committed. Missions like a food pantry don't survive easily. A committee probably won't get the job done. You need a small core of committed people, or more often, just one, who make that work their priority, their passion. Interested people aren't passionate, they are....interested. Commitment in a food pantry becomes a passion for the poor which in reality is a passion for the Lord. Jesus, in his Matthew 25 treatise on entry into heaven, greeted those joining him with these words:
"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink..." 

Jesus will come to visit George about five hundred times this month. George will be ready with the bell peppers and the eggnog and the loaves of bread. This month, Jesus will be white and black, Latino and Asian but George will still recognize him. And George, the Lord has a long memory. He will never forget your face, either.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."
Vince Lombardi

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

http://www.hawleybooks.com/
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

1 comment:

hallmark said...

An angel told Cornelius -
"Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God."
I believe you, George, Bill Sellers, Betty, and many others that have given their time and money to bless the poor have their offerings regarded with esteem by God. Thank you for showing your regard for God by blessing the poor with food and the word of God.