Wednesday, April 16

Not long ago, several of us from Christ on Campus spent part of a Saturday cleaning Dorit's house. Dorit is a 75-year-old lady with whom we became connected several years ago through Faith In Action - an organization that meets the needs of the elderly here in Fayetteville. Dorit's house caught on fire a few weeks ago. And though it wasn't destroyed, there was some fire and water damage. So we spent a few hours cleaning and preparing it for repairs and for her return.

Dorit is an interesting individual with probably more idiosyncrasies than the average person. She is a pretty good artist and is always learning about something - to which the college classes she occasionally takes and the two microscopes she owns attest. Any time spent or conversation with her is always interesting.

But this post isn't really about Dorit or cleaning her house. It is about two men - Jake Tolbert and Austin Brown. Through the years, many from ConC have served Dorit - giving her rides to the store or the doctor, picking up her mail, chopping firewood, etc. But it has been Jake (who was my associate for several years) and Austin (who is my associate now) who have carried the majority of the load. From the very beginning, Dorit began to rely on Jake for so many things. When Jake moved back to Illinois almost two years ago and Austin moved to Fayetteville, he picked up where Jake left off. You can count on at least one call from Dorit every day. Both of these men made themselves available to serve her and care for her and have done it with an impressive example of character, patience, and love. I am not, by nature, a patient or compassionate man. Maybe that is why I am so impressed by those who are. So this post is mostly a tribute to Jake and Austin, men with whom I have had the privilege to work and men who reflect the character of Christ - who came "not to be served, but to serve" - in very clear and practical ways.

God always seems to bring the "least of these" into our lives and into our churches and Christian groups, those who are on the fringe of society and who can't really contribute. The Dorits and the Patricks and the Timothys and the guy who stopped in last Tuesday night needing money. And I believe that one of the great tests of Christian character and maturity - for both an individual and a church or Christian body - is how we treat the "least of these." Not only does it provide evidence of what God has done in our lives, but it can also be a powerful witness to those who watch us.

I'm thankful for men of character and compassion - like Jake and Austin - who model to me what I need to be.