Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Simple Act of Service

We recently celebrated the life of my grandfather, Edmond Hammitt, and laid his earthly body to rest. Although we will miss him, he lived a full life of 93 years and was ready to cross the finish line. Over the years I have heard many stories about his life, but at the funeral I heard a story I hadn't heard before. I knew that Grandpa had impacted the lives of many people, but this story was unique.

During the open sharing time, a woman (I'll call her Mary; I don't even know her real name) stood up and began by saying that my grandfather was instrumental in bringing her husband into a relationship with Jesus. I wondered if maybe they were friends and Grandpa had the opportunity to personally lead him to Christ. Or maybe he went to the church where my grandfather was an elder. But that's not the way it happened.

One Christmas Eve, Mary was planning to go church but the weather kept her confined to the house. Since she couldn't go out, she decided to listen to a live Christian broadcast instead. To Mary's surprise, her husband said that he would listen to the broadcast alongside her. This was unusual, because he normally would not set foot inside a church, and had little interest in Jesus. But that evening, after listening to the broadcast, Mary's husband surrendered his heart to Christ.

So what did that have to do with my grandfather? Well, although Mary presumably did not know it at the time, there had been a problem with the antenna at the broadcast site. In order for the broadcast to take place, someone had to sit on the roof on that cold Ohio Christmas Eve, holding up the antenna. That person was my grandfather.

It meant a lot to us that Mary recognized the importance of my grandfather's simple act of service. Although he hadn't said a word to Mary's husband, his contribution to the broadcast was equally important as that of the person speaking into the microphone. This story also resonated with us because missionary aviation plays a similar role in the proclamation of the Gospel as that antenna. Airplanes are simply a tool that we can use to carry missionaries, pastors, doctors, and patients to and from remote places. Through the people and the goods that are transported, the Gospel is proclaimed.

I'm thankful for the legacy and the example of my grandfather. My prayer is that I will live a faithful life, worthy of the Gospel and devoted to Christ. I hope that some day, when I go to be with the Lord, it can be said of me that many people heard the name of Jesus—either directly or indirectly—because of my faithful service.