Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Erik Factor: For The Unsung Heroes

Working at the YMCA in the way I do is a bit funny. In other contexts the people I serve and come alongside could be seen as customers, clients, consumers, residents, service users or other terms of reference that sets our relationship relatively securely in set parameters. That doesn’t work for me though.

The proper term of reference for the young people that we serve is customers thereby taking any sense in which they’re to be ‘done to’ and rather seen as people of value receiving a service. That can work to some to an extent, but it’s useless to me. I develop relationships with the young people and get to them as much as they wish me to know them but the ideal is to build a relationship to an extent that I can call them friend. Between that point and the opening conversation they are someone I know and care for.

For the time being Erik falls into that category. We’ve spoken a bit and I know a few things about the guy, but it’s hardly enough for me to merit the honour of being called his friend. Of what I know of the guy, though, he is one that I’d like that title to be conferred from him to me. In the short time since I’ve come across him he’s been a good laugh and eager to join in with anything that CSD is doing including the recent Restaurant event that I referred to in a previous post.

At this event I was particularly taken by his diligence in using his talents in serving in what I’m sure would be positively termed as the catering domestic engineer but was known as the dude who did the washing up. I notice that the dude that does the washing up doesn’t really get much credit but the efforts of the dude that washes up is noticeable when it’s not done. When it’s done shabby it’s also an issue, but you don’t see magazines adorning the shelves of a newsagent on Washing Up Today. It got me thinking about a larger theme from scripture.

He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Mark 3:16-19)

When people name the 12 disciples I can almost guarantee most will not remember Thaddaeus. In fact dudes will only remember it because it’s a name highlighted because it is easy to forget it! Likewise in life there are always those unsung heroes whose names we never hear about whose contributions have been vital to reflecting God’s Kingdom on earth.

As God knows each bird and has numbered every hair on every head, so He knows the name of those that don’t get the attention, are not in the spotlight.

In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, but we don't have to be modest about other parts. God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honoured, the whole body will be happy. (1 Cor. 12:22-26)

Paul here then gives the big up to unsung hero, even as some parts of our body don’t necessarily get others ogling in admiration and yet we know that without them we know things would suffer. So we’re called to make a practise now of showing honour to those less popular parts of the community – the Eriks of this world. The subject is close to my heart because my dad was an Erik, the dude that would come in and set up the room for the congregational service and would sort out all the menial stuff that we used to take for granted. He was well suited to the role of deacon in our church in the sense that he had a servant’s heart while bringing no attention to himself and being one of those unsung heroes. So this is to all those who don’t get the credit afforded to the loudmouths who get the credit for their singing, talking, writing or hey even blogging. Thanks to the Eriks of this world – God has said your reward is great!

For His Name's Sake



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