Sunday evening I was able to attend the fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration of some former members who now live in the Frisco area. As part of the celebration, there was a worship service at which the couple renewed their vows. It was wonderful to hear different people offer tributes and memories and testimonies about this couple. Their sons offered both touching recollections and light-hearted ribbings.
A recurring theme was the wonderful way in they lived, how they treated each other and all those around them. The presiding minister’s message was based on Psalm 23:6, how “goodness and mercy” have followed them. That was true, and goodness and mercy have flowed through them to others.
After all the slide shows and accolades were complete, the husband arose to say a few words. In his usual humble and gracious manner, he thanked everyone for attending and affirmed that he and his wife loved everyone there. The man always speaks in a sincere and genuine fashion, and this was no exception. He went on to say that this celebration was not really about himself and his wife, but it was about God’s goodness in their lives. He shared a wonderful witness of his faith in Jesus and how that made everything in their life together worthwhile and meaningful.
This week, the Billy Graham Museum opened in Charlotte, North Carolina. News reports said the evangelist toured it with his son, Franklin, shortly before it opened. As Graham finished the tour, his son Franklin asked how he had liked the tribute. The gruff reply: “Too much Billy Graham.”
Franklin Graham said, “The last thing my father wanted was to have a monument to himself.” In an email interview, Dr. Graham said, “I’m humbled that anyone would want to honor me in this way.” He added that he had instructed Franklin and other museum designers “to point people to Christ rather than to make it too much about me.”
These two godly men gave me powerful reminders of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. It is not about who I am or what I can do or what I have done or even what I will do. It is all about Jesus, who He is and what He has done. The only-begotten Son of God came into this world as one of us, to live among us, to live a life without sin and offer that life as complete payment for the sins of all people. The promise is that everyone who puts his or her faith in Him will receive the benefit of everything He did. Forgiveness, life eternal and salvation become our possession through faith in Jesus as our Savior. We escape our deserved punishment for His sake. Because of that, the focus of our lives on earth becomes living in a way that responds to God’s goodness.
Disciples of Jesus will want to dedicate themselves to humble service. Life is not about receiving awards and plaques or getting your name in the paper – It is about helping your neighbor. Jesus points us in this direction in Matthew 24: I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
I’ve given you some masculine examples of this, but I don’t want to ignore the feminine. It has been a privilege for me to work in an advisory role with the women’s organization of our church, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, at the congregational, area and state levels. I love working with them because they are all about getting the message of Jesus to more people and don’t get bogged down in politics. They are also committed to doing so in a humble manner. This is the pledge of this organization:
In fervent gratitude for the Savior’s dying love and His blood-bought gift of redemption we dedicate ourselves to Him with all that we are and have; and in obedience to His call for workers in the harvest fields, we pledge Him our willing service wherever and whenever He has need of us. We consecrate to our Savior our hands to work for Him, our feet to go on His errands, our voice to sing His praises, our lips to proclaim His redeeming love, our silver and our gold to extend His Kingdom, our will to do His will, and every power of our life to the great task of bringing the lost and the erring into eternal fellowship with Him. Amen.
A humble disciple will want to echo the sentiment of John the Baptizer when Jesus came on to the scene: He must become greater; I must become less, or, as some translations have it, He must increase, I must decrease (John 3:30). I hope you will join me in praying that God will make more and more of us His humble and willing servants.