Monday, May 21, 2012

Do unto others

I was in the badger state again, being trained, equipped to become a more effective leader, a more relevant communicator and a more passionate Pastor.  You see, I'm completing a two year journey called Christian Excellence in Congregational Leadership at Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wisconsin.  And, to be candid, I've come to love this place: from the cheese curds, to the Packer fans; from the really cool accents these folks have to the genuine kindness these mid-westerners possess; and from the beauty of the land to the world famous custard from Leon's - it's truly an awesome state. Just outside my room, less than a football field in length, was this view:

Not to shabby, hah?  Well, when we showed up last week, we were really late and ran into the dining hall to see if we could grab a bite to eat before our first session - we missed it and all agreed spending the day in Chicago three hours south was worth the risk of not eating dinner.  As we proceeded to check into our rooms, this dear lady ran up and said, "Gentlemen, come back and sit down; dinner is being prepared!"  From the looks of the 500 seat room, they had already cleaned, vacuumed, mopped and began preparing for the next days business.  We told her that it wasn't necessary to feed a bunch of overweight 50 year olds and that we'd be fine; she insisted and with that look of I'm here to serve you, ushered us back into the dining hall and sat us down like we were royalty.  Now, you might think she acted this way because that's what she gets paid for, she was just doing her job, etc.  Not so, this gal was genuine and authentic in her desire to make us feel like we were really important.

The next day, as I was running along the lake shore the during a lunch break, I reflected on this servants example and I identified at least five really cool characteristics that she exemplified that really spoke to my heart:
  • Kindness second to none - her eyes and smile spoke tenderness
  • Service above self - it was clear that life wasn't about her
  • Compassionate courtesy - yes, more than mid-westerner charm
  • Totally cool - she even told us she was a Milwaukee Brewer fan
  • Excessive Happiness - her belly laugh proved her inward joy
Seriously, this was all the training, lectures and workshops I needed; this lady not only lived the Golden Rule, she was the Golden Rule!  Well, later in the week, during another run along the shore at Green Lake, as I was listening to my I-Pod, I began to evaluate my life, my treatment of others, etc., in light of this gal's example.  Sad to say with all candor, I fall so short and have so much to learn in comparison to this saint (I'm sure I would have told the late comers they missed dinner and it might be a good idea next time to wear a watch).  As I was getting into my run, I asked myself how did she do it?  Why did she do it?  After a few miles, I came to the conclusion that she simply treats each person as a valuable guest, a creation of God that is worthy of her respect.  When I think of this incident, and I do often, I'm reminded of some lyrics from one of my favorite Christian bands; they goes like this:

Let the songs I sing bring joy to You
Let the words I say ‘fess my love
Let the notes I choose be your favorite tune
Father let my heart be after You
Father let my heart be after You

You know, this lady at Green Lake Conference Center personifies these lyrics and she lives with intention to please her Father (Heavenly...).  As I close, my hope and prayer is that I can glean from this lady's life and incorporate her way into how I treat others.  For you, my hope and prayer is the same - consider the lyrics, consider the gal from Wisconsin and, consider your treatment of others.  Remember what my favorite Rabbi said some 2,000 years ago, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!"


  1. This gal from Wisconsin that you talk about in your post is my mom. She just started her 30th year at the Conference Center where she is the Foodservice Director. You have described her so beautifully and accurately. She truly is an inspiration and exemplifies the meaning of living a life of service. I am blessed to be her daughter. She has taught me what it means to live a life with intention. Thank you for sharing such wonderful words describing her character with the world.

  2. you're welcome...she's a blessing and represents Jesus! Take care and blessings to you!