In a small town in England in about 1680, perhaps as late as 1690, nobody is sure about the exact year, lived a man known simply as Mr. Luther. Luther was his first name, and it was estimated that he was no younger than 90 years old. In fact, nobody in town could recall a time when he did not live there. Anyone over the age of twenty, however, remembered that the only day he ever broke from his daily routine was twenty years ago when his wife was called home by the Lord. Even then, he kept to himself for only two days before returning to his daily duties.
Luther had been the caretaker of St. Catherine’s Church, the large church in the center of town, for as long as anyone could remember. Not an educated man, but a godly man, he had a routine that never deviated from one day to the next. Morning started at 4:30 a.m. when his eyes automatically opened. His first duty was to hit his knees in prayer, open his Bible and read for about thirty minutes, then tend to his small brood of chickens he kept.
By 5:45 he was dressed and walking out the door, waving to neighbors as he headed into town. A stop at George’s pastry and candy shop for morning coffee and an exchange of news always worked its way into a game or two of backgammon, but with a schedule to keep, Luther headed off. Passing by Three Brothers Watch and Clock Shoppe, he would always pull out his pocket watch and check it against the beautiful grandfather clock in the front window. Steve, the middle brother, had once told him that it had been made by William Clement, credited with inventing the grandfather clock. The time was so precise it was a work of art and science all in one piece.
Pacing himself so as not to tire himself, but also so that he would reach the church on time, Luther would get to the church in time to speak with Rev. Theodore about the day’s duties and see if anything special needed doing. The morning would then go on until the most important part of the day. At 11:45 a.m. work would have to stop, no matter what Luther was doing.
Climbing the bell tower, Luther would take out his watch and stare intently at the minute and even the second hand. Then, at exactly the stroke of 12:00 noon, he would begin what would be the most important part of his day. 1,2,3,4,5 tolls.6,7,8,9,10,11,12. Timed perfectly so that everyone in town new that it was noon. It was the only way people for miles would know to set their clocks. Homes, businesses, farms, schools, everyone relied on Luther, although he saw this as just a minor part of his day.
This had gone on for yeas, and then one day, as he was carrying out his morning walk to the church, he walked by Three Brothers Watch and Clock Shoppe and noticed that the grandfather clock was missing! Stopping inside to see where it was, he was greeted by Chris, the youngest brother. “Where is the beautiful grandfather clock that use to sit in your front window? It kept such perfect time, and I always loved looking at it when I walked by?!”
“Oh the grandfather clock that was up front?” Christ asked, “I know the one, my wife Michelle has been admiring it for so many years that I gave it to her for her birthday. Besides, the only reason it kept such good time is because we always checked it against the church bells at noon every day. To tell you the truth, I think it ran a little slow”.
This is not a story about a grandfather clock or an old man who worked in a church. In fact, I first heard this story over forty years ago. (I have added the names and some details to make it more interesting), but the point is about much more than a man and a bell tower.
Luther, admired by the community for his loyalty to the church, was visible in his service apparently in a number of ways. We probably all know someone like that in our own church community. I can think of a few off the top of my head from every church I ever attended in my half century of living. I am pleased to say that one of them was my own Papou, which for you non-Greek speakers, means “Grandfather”. However, what about the brothers who owned the clock shop? They may not have known that they played any part at all in the smooth running of the church, or the lives of the townspeople at large. What about the people of the congregation who came to church on Sunday to hear Rev. Theodore’s message? Keeping in mind that the community is full of people who all interact with each other, some while at church, (for those who attend), and also outside in the social and business community, every part of this body depends on every other part. This can lead to positive or negative impact, depending on the health of each part.Romans 12:3-5 (KJV)
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
When you have a headache, do you walk more slowly, even though your feet and legs are find? When your back hurts, do you limp, even though your knees are healthy? If you lose sleep, do you have trouble with mental functions? Romans 12:-5 tells us, Romans 12:3-5
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
In remembering this, we can all remember that we all have distinct duties in God’s kingdom, some of which are described further as some of the Spiritual Gifts listed in the same chapter, but, as Paul reminds us, none are any better or superior to others.
Serving Him through Serving Others,