A little holiday story. We took a boat cruise a few summers back. Not a cruise around Cape Hope or up through Siberia or anything like that. We went on the Miss Midland, a hop and a skip from Collingwood, a charming 45 footer that putts around for a couple of hours up through the beautiful islands around Victoria harbour.
About midway through, our daughter Haven wanted to meet the Captain, so we walked into the captain’s deck. He’s standing there with his hands on the wheel, and he saw us and waved us in. “Where you from?”, he smiled. “Collingwood” I said.
“Uyuh, Uyuh, great town.” (I don’t know either, but that’s just the way he talked)
“What do you do down there?” “I’m a minister in a church.” “Uyuh, uyuh.” He took another quick look at me.
“There’s two other ministers on board today”, he said. “Really”, I said. “Well, I guess that’s why we have such a perfect day for a boat ride” “Uyuh, I guess so”, he says.
Haven and I went down to the snack bar to get a drink. We got talking to the young woman serving. She says “Hey, I’m from Collingwood too. So, what church did you say you were from?” “First Presbyterian”. I said.
“O yeah, I know that church”, she says “Isn’t that the church that . . .” And I just tensed up a wee bit, because, you don’t know what they’re going to say. “That’s the church that . . .”
And she said “That’s the church that’s busy in the community, right? Community suppers, Christmas hampers, and that big Christmas show”. “Actually”, she said “I did a summer camp there for a few years when I was a kid. I loved it. Do you still do that camp?”
“Yes”, I said. “It’s still a great week.”
Is it ever appropriate to tip a server 90%? Because, for me, that was about the best thing she could have said. What my ears heard was, “That’s the church that cares enough to be actually known by the people of this town for the stuff we do, for them.”
It does a Christian’s heart good to be known as much for what you do as for what you believe.
At Thanksgiving we remember the goodness that surrounds us and to be more intentional in being grateful for it. But we also remember when Jesus said “I didn’t come to this earth to be served, I came to serve”. And to show the disciples what he meant, he washed their feet. (John 13)
Earlier on Jesus had said “It’s better to give than to receive. Those who give their lives away are the ones who find their lives.” (Mark 8)
I really believe that all people know in the deepest places of their hearts that Jesus’ words are true. That when this kind of serving love is shared, joy is found. The deepest joy in all of life.
That’s what we will seek. And that's what we will find.
And in the end, it will be the thing that we are most thankful for.
We hope you’ll be able to join us on Thanksgiving Sunday – it would be great to celebrate together. For those who aren’t able to, know that you are in our prayers. Remember that we are forever bound together by the love of God that is with us. Peace be with you.