Face to the coal

Called to serve, I believe there is only one way to do that job well–looking directly into the face of the one you serve. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.

I’ve had a few stays in the hospital over the last couple of years. In that time I’ve experienced excellent care. When you’re lying flat on your back in one of those normally uncomfortable hospital beds with the insufficient blankets, hooked up to tubes and wires, the best part of your day or night is often when a friendly face comes into the room with a stethoscope around their neck, clipboard in hand and smile on their face. “How’s your pain Mr. Brunner?” “Can I get you anything?” “Do you need help with that?” “I can get that for you.” The words are comforting in and of themselves, but the greatest comfort I found is in their faces. I know how hard nurses and doctors work as my wife is an RN. Yet, when they come into your room with a smile and look you directly in the eyes and offer you their service, that’s the best part. I’m sure as they are opening the door and studying a chart their thoughts could easily drift to the next patient. Nevertheless, most of the doctors and nurses I’ve run into make you feel personally cared for. Something that’s always impressed me. Face to the patient, they’re there to be of service for the moment. It’s their dedicated calling.

Called to serve, I believe there is only one way to do that job well–looking directly into the face of the one you serve.

Here’s a story. During World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation he asked them to picture in their minds a parade which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war. First, he said, would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Then would come the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky. Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner’s caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, ‘And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?’ And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, ‘We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.’” Not all the jobs in a church are prominent and glamorous. But it is often the people with their “faces to the coal” who help the church accomplish its mission. (Don McCullough, Waking from the American Dream.)

You and I serve Christ Jesus our Lord. Unlike those soldiers counting on the coal or me lying in that hospital bed, he doesn’t require our service. Nevertheless he desires it with all his heart. As those who are called we have three choices–we can ignore the call and serve ourselves, heed the call and devote ourselves to service of that call, or heed the call and devote ourselves to the one we serve. The best choice is the last choice. We serve Christ and must be loyal to him and not to the service he calls us to do. We need to have our faces to the coal. The two great temptations for Christians when called to serve are neglect and pride. The former compels us to serve ourselves and the latter is no different. Called to serve? Aren’t we all. A bit of advice though. Keep your face to the coal and not the outcome of the war.

We pray. Heavenly Father, our pride so often gets in the way of our service to you. Sometimes we are so proud that we ignore your call to serve, and others we are so proud that we find more pleasure in the outcome of that service that we do in heeding the call. When we are called Oh Lord keep us mindful of our need to Face the Coal and keep our loyalty to Christ and not our deeds in his name. Forgive us Lord whenever pride gets in the way of our need to serve the Lord with hearts as well as our heads. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)

Thank you for tuning into This Passing Day. Join us at thispassingday.com. May this PASSING day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don’t let another day pass without your day blessing someone else’s.

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