The refrigerator was full of sodas and water. It’d been that way for years. Every week it got replenished. Sunday rolled around, and people opened the fridge and found their favorite soft drink or a bottle of cold water to accompany their post-service meal or to sip on during the worship service. It was almost magical how it filled up again and again, week after week. Much like the widow’s oil, it was constantly replenished. Colas, root beers, lemon-limes, and ginger ales. Diet and sugared, caffeinated and non—all sorts of delightful elixirs to accommodate individual tastes. It’s been a wonderful thing.
Of course, it wasn’t magic. It was John. John was a kindhearted, somewhat nondescript man who was always sort of in the background at church. He preferred to not be noticed. But things somehow always got fixed when John was around. The lock on the door that no key could turn was replaced. The leaking faucet stopped leaking. The refrigerator was always full. There was no paycheck, nor were these tasks assigned. It was just John being John, looking for things that needed doing and doing them.
John found his way to the church back when the Presbyterian church he was part of closed down. When asked why he joined us he’d say he liked the people and liked helping out. And helping out is what he did. Always quietly. Always kindly. Always generously.
Quiet faithfulness seems to be a lost art in our fast-spinning world. For John it was a way of life. He was faithful to his wife, faithful to his church, faithful to his family—faithfulness always expressed in service, in simple acts of kindness and love. A year after year of keeping-a-refrigerator-filled-with-soda kind of faithfulness.
All things end, of course. We age and can no longer do what we once did. The time came for John and Sylvia to pack up their little house and move closer to family in Georgia. Of course, even that is an act of kindness. Better that he and Sylvia move closer to nephews and nieces so as not to be a burden to them when final medical choices must be made, wills must be executed, and possessions disposed of. Making life easier for the family is exactly what John would do. And he did.
John set a marvelous example.
Peter is 19. He follows in the way of Jesus. He asked me after church one Sunday what kind of soda I liked best. I told him I drank a lot of Diet Pepsi, but I’d always been partial to Vernors ginger ale. I said it was difficult to find out here in Arizona, so I rarely drank it.
The next Sunday the fridge was again stocked with water and sodas—including some cans of Vernors ginger ale.
John set a marvelous example of faithful generosity.
It didn’t go unnoticed.