“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

BEING THIRD BEHIND GOD AND OUR NEIGHBOR

Gale Sayers, the hall of fame running back and the author of the book I Am Third, believed he was third in his list of life priorities. First God, then his family and neighbors, and finally himself. Gale lives this life even today. A famous person who is well known and any act of being a servant is for all to see.

“Rusty doesn’t serve to garner favor, but he genuinely likes to help others.”

But there are other people that are not famous and serve without the recognition that fame can bring. I know a person like this, Rusty. Rusty serves because he wants to serve others first. Rusty doesn’t serve to garner favor, but he genuinely likes to help others.

Recently, when I was in Asheville North Carolina, Rusty called to see if he could take my wife out for dinner. The problem was we were just sitting down at a local restaurant and getting ready to order. I told Rusty where we were and he came right over. He had been visiting Asheville on a sales call and thought it would be nice to eat dinner with us.

“I have had a great day and wanted to share it with you.”

Rusty, as he always does, entered the restaurant full of his good humor and a happy voice. He sat down and ordered his meal, and informed us it was on him tonight. When we acquired why, he simply said, “I have had a great day and wanted to share it with you.” No other motive, but just to share his joy.

In the past Rusty has always been helpful beyond what anyone could expect. If we told him we had a problem, he had an answer or fixed it for us. He shared his immense knowledge of the woods and the back country of North Carolina with us. There is no problem Rusty can’t fix.

Recently, I heard a story about Rusty from another neighbor, John. John had a statue that was missing a small part. While staying with his neighbor John,  Rusty noticed the broken statue.

The next morning when John got up the statue was fixed. During the night, Rusty had rummaged through some things he found in the house and spent a good part of the evening fixing the statue. This is how Rusty is, he fixes things, he gives great advice and is the first to lend a hand.

My wife, Connie, wanted to learn how to fly fish. I was not a fly fisherman, I cast to reach the hidden pools of the mountain streams. I mentioned this to Rusty, and of course he was going to help my wife learn to fly fish.

“I hear a voice that is in love with God and thankful for whatever he has.”

Over the years, I have gotten to know Rusty. Beyond his always present smile and deep love to serve, he is a very deep and spiritual man. We have had many theological conversations. In everyone I learn something new. But mostly, I hear a voice that is in love with God and thankful for whatever he has.

Rusty views his life of serving others as his duty, a duty he loves and relishes. Rusty will never be famous outside his circle of friends. He will never be on TV. He will never receive global praise. He serves without needing fame.

When I mentioned to Rusty, Gale Sayers view on being third, Rusty replied, “Of course.” I am envious of Rusty because he serves innately through a deeply embedded desire to help. I wonder what a magical world it would be, if we all sought to serve instinctively like Rusty.

“But fame isn’t his chase. He just wants to serve God and his neighbor.”

On the surface, Rusty appears to be just a fun loving good ole boy from North Carolina, but beneath this well-crafted veneer is the soul of a very religious man. His outward charm belies a deeper and faithful view of how to live. We his friends get to experience both. I only wish many others could experience this man. But fame isn’t his chase. He just wants to serve God and his neighbor.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Parting Thoughts
  • Is there a neighbor we can help today?
  • Why does serving our neighbor bring joy into our lives?
  • When we serve others, why do we serve?

Photo by Samuel Zeller

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