Tony was our church's custodian/sexton. He was the man who would do the cleaning as well as any set-up that needed to be done for events, which in a church our size, was at least weekly. He always remembered what was needed for whatever was going on - so much so that he'd come to me before VBS where I ran the refreshment department and he'd tell me what he had planned to have available for me which was just exactly what I needed. His heart was such like I've never seen - NEVER complaining about what needed to be done and he did it with joy. Our senior pastor today said that he could absolutely say without reserve that Tony was as important as any of the pastors in our church and he did as much ministry as any of them. Tony was involved in the recovery ministry but he also mentored a ton of the young teens who would work part-time for the church doing some of the cleaning and so many of them have grown up to serve the Lord in other ways.
Today was Tony's farewell luncheon as he and his wife plan to move down south. Much of our staff was there (over 40 people) and there was not a dry eye in the place as we all roasted Tony and Sue and told them of the impact they had on each of us. While Tony was "just" the custodian, he impacted each of us and so many others in a much bigger way than just cleaning a toilet. I seriously want to be like Tony when I grow up and pray that I can have a heart to serve others that's even just a fraction of his.
One neat thing is that our senior pastor gives each new member a verse and writes it on their membership papers. He prays over each person and God gives him a verse for them. Today he told Tony he prayed for a verse for him and told him what it was - and he said "I have a feeling that verse is what I gave you when you joined the church, isn't it?" He keeps no records of that but he knew. God had shown him the verse again for him. That verse (passage) is Philippians 1:3-6 "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
Amen. God bless Tony and Sue and may God continue to bless them as they begin their new lives in Tennessee. We'll miss you!