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We all need inspiration from time to time . . we need heroes . . and while I serve with a very dynamic and committed usher team at my church, my hero is in a church far away . . a man I never have met . . and his name is “Jimmy”. Jimmy serves in a church that Christianity Today contributor Carolyn Arends used to attend. From Carolyn’s perspective, Jimmy takes his ushering duties seriously. Every Sunday, he is a reliably warm presence in the church lobby, handing out bulletins, clasping hands and sneaking candy to the kids.
Yet Carolyn, like many others, also knows that Jimmy . . upon closer examination . . for reasons not fully known . . is what some people call “a little different”. While Jimmy is faithful in the execution of his Sunday responsibilities, it would be easy for most to treat him “outside the church walls” in a mostly dismissive manner. We easily distance ourselves from “different” and subtly assume ourselves to be the “superior” on any number of levels.
Carolyn would come to discover a much different “Jimmy” than the false version we easily cook up in our prideful prejudice . .
“At a New Year’s Eve service several years ago, I discovered that Jimmy is different from most of us in the best possible way. The church congregation traditionally celebrates Communion together just before midnight, and then invites people to share some of the past year’s triumphs and trials. That particular year, there was a moving mix of thankfulness and heartache – cancer healed and cancer raging, jobs found and lost, relationships mended and some still up for prayer. Eventually, Jimmy stood up and asked if he could tell us about a praise item. ‘This year’, Jimmy started, with tears in his eyes, ‘I learned how much I can count on God. See, I promised him I would pray for a list of people every day. But when I started, I couldn’t remember who I was supposed to pray for, and I got frustrated. So I asked God to help me remember. After that, all the names came to mind, every time. And I never could have remembered on my own, so I knew it was God!’ And then Jimmy sat down.”
Jimmy serves today as such an amazing model of the truth found in 1 John 4:7 . .
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.”
This is David “JB” Miller acknowledging that just when you least expect it, it is often the “Jimmy’s” of the world who truly “get it”. My prayer today for myself is that if someone dare take a closer examination of my life . . that they too would conclude that I am . . .
. . . “a little different”.