The Christian Public Servant – “a friend unknown”

June 22, 2017 – Thursday

John 15:13 [NIV] Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Luke 10:36-37 [NIV] “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

A few summers ago, I had the honor to stand at the National Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. As I looked from the cliffs at the beach those men had to cross and the white crosses of those who did not make it, I came to understand the true meaning of “hero.” Those who “lay down” their lives for mea friend unknown – they are true heroes.

And of course, Jesus tells about the Samaritan who helped a stranger victimized by robbers. Jesus does not describe this man as a hero, for he did not lay down his life, but simply as a neighbor offering mercy to a stranger – a friend unknown.

So, when I hear coworkers and supervisors pontificate about the sacrifices they must make for their agency – well, you’ll have to forgive me if look the other way. We have developed a real talent in convincing others how greatly we sacrifice – acting as if that somehow makes us heroes. And boasting is never an attribute of being a Good Samaritan. As Christian public servants, we must understand the meaning of real sacrifice and the meaning of real mercy and, therefore, we should never participate in talk that belittles those meanings.

As you go to work today, think of all the amazing sacrifices made by true heroes – including today’s heroes protecting us from terrorists. Then think of all the offerings of mercy that could be performed on this very day – gestures of mercy that can stem the tide of hatred in the world and in your neighborhood. Finally remember, God doesn’t expect you to be a hero today. But He wants you to be a Good Samaritan every day.

Today at work, don’t complain. Don’t pontificate. Don’t cross the street to avoid being either a hero or a neighbor. Look for ways to sacrifice for others so they can gain a small idea of the great love that has been shown to you. Do this for just one person at work – a friend unknown.

Now, go and do likewise.

Dear Lord, I thank You for heroes and neighbors. Thank You for being both Hero and Neighbor to me, showing Your great love that saved a sinner like me. Help me each day show that love to others, not just friends but enemies, as a hero or as a neighbor. In this way, may others come to know that great love for themselves and always call You, Friend! In Your name, I pray. Amen.

Stan Best
Training Manager, Apprentice School
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, Virginia USA

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