Monday, April 11, 2016
I like that song.
It reminds me of the many people in my life who have...
Well, you know what I mean; and if you don't, listen again until you do.
Maybe you'll think of and thank God for the people in your life who...
As we celebrate the life and ministry of Karen McClenthen on the corner of Lincoln and Main in Belvidere, Illinois for 40 years, it comes to mind.
Karen has endured so many people like me...and you...and...and...and, uh, if you don't know what I mean, you may have been more of a pain to Karen than people like me.
While we will have a congregational celebration of Karen's life and ministry with us on April 24, our officers hosted a dinner for her on April 11; and what follows is a summary of what I said.
Since a week with Eugene in Montana back in October 2011, I know I’ve just been scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus; and now understand why one of the wisest mentors that I’ve ever known said to me when I thought I knew more than I now know I never knew, “I’d like to tell you all that I know; but I don’t have ten minutes to tell you.”
I thought of that when I was told to speak briefly during our celebration of Karen McClenthen’s 40 years of life and ministry on the corner of Lincoln and Main.
That’s a long time.
I don’t think any other staff member of Belvidere, Illinois’ First Presbyterian Church has hung around that long.
I’ve only been here over 10% and less than 12% of that time.
Of course, Karen will always be a year older than me.
While I’m not really that good at math, as Karen will attest, I figure I’ve spent more time with Karen than any remaining members and staff.
She’s a workaholic; and because neither of us take many days off with the church owing us more vacation time than it will ever be inclined to reimburse as testimony to selective morality, I’ve hung out with her on the corner of Lincoln and Main for about 28,800 hours…give or take 1K.
So it’s kinda hard to be told to speak briefly about Karen; especially when she has meant so much to First, Belvidere, Boone County, and beyond.
Moreover, when I say what I really think about her, there will be folks who’ve worked with me over 42 years that may feel more than a little jealous of my estimate of her because anyone who knows me knows I am very, very, very candid about anyone who dares to work for Jesus in any part of His body.
I expect more than 100% of their emotions and energies.
I expect availability whenever, whatever, and whyever with whomever.
I expect the three most important ingredients of somebody really called to ministry: loyalty, loyalty, and loyalty.
I expect more than the extra mile.
I expect the willingness to turn the other cheek and never enter into a tinkling contest with a constituent.
I expect a willingness to sacrifice self, substance, and even sanity.
I expect a willingness to die for the body of Him who died to save our souls and provide strong calm sanity until we’re eternal.
In short, I expect the best from those who serve the Best.
Karen is the only one who has ever met those expectations.
Miraculously, she still has quite a head of hair!
O.K., this hasn’t been as brief as instructed; but everybody knows I don’t pay attention much attention to anybody but our eternal Father God and my existential boss Karen.
Blessings and Love!
Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!