Captain Tom Moore is a British World War II veteran. He recently raised more than $36 million for the National Health Service by completing laps of his garden with the help of a walker. People tuned in online from across the globe to watch his progress and support his cause.
Capt. Moore turns one hundred Thursday. In response, well-wishers have sent him more than 125,000 birthday cards.
James Hodgson, headmaster of the nearby Bedford School in central England, has taken on the gargantuan task of opening and displaying the cards. “It’s the most amazing outpouring of love for a great man,” he says.
The floor of his school has become a sea of goodwill wishes. Volunteers have spent hours reading them over the last week. Hodgson said, “We’ve had cards from all around the world, not just the UK . . . we’ve had cards from two-year-olds and we’ve had cards from 92-year-olds.” The plan is to display as many as possible and send Capt. Moore a photo of the results.
One hand-drawn card from eleven-year-old Rebekah in South Wales read: “To My Hero! Thank you for all you have done. You will help a lot of people with the money you have raised xx.”
“Give me this hill country”
I’m sure Capt. Moore remembers the days when he was spry and youthful. He probably thought as a young soldier that his deployment during World War II was his greatest service to his country. But his commitment decades later to help those in need has made him a global hero.
We can learn a lesson here: God’s people never retire.
Moses served the Lord until his death at the age of 120. Even at that time, “his eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated” (Deuteronomy 34:7). John was an elderly man when he received the Revelation on Patmos (Revelation 1:9).
Caleb was eighty-five when he testified, “I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming” (Joshua 14:11).
As a result, he could say to Joshua: “So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said” (v. 12).
John Mark’s fascinating story
God uses us as we are, not as we wish we were.
He used Jacob despite his duplicitous character (cf. Genesis 27). He used Moses despite his speech difficulties (Exodus 4:10) and Aaron despite his fear of the people (cf. Exodus 32:1–6). He used Paul despite his persecution of Christians (cf. Acts 26:9–11).
John Mark’s role in the early church is an especially interesting example. We know that the first Christians met in his family’s home (Acts 12:12). He joined Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5) but soon deserted them (v. 13). As a result, Paul refused to bring him on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:36–40), but his cousin Barnabas refused to give up on him (Acts 15:39; Colossians 4:10).
Years later, Mark became one of Paul’s “fellow workers” (Philemon 1:24). At the end of his life, the apostle called him “very useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Mark’s reconciliation with Paul may have come through the young man’s relationship with Peter, who called him “my son” (1 Peter 5:13). Early tradition states that Mark wrote the gospel bearing his name and based his work largely on Peter’s testimony.
“I am the clay, and you are our potter”
Br. Keith Nelson of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Boston notes: “Following Jesus opens us to receive his peace in the midst of our flaws, not in spite of them. We hold the treasure of Christ’s peace in clay jars, as grateful sinners.”
One of our fears during this pandemic is that we are too limited and finite to do what needs to be done. We cannot find a vaccine or effective therapy. We cannot revive the economy or comfort all those who are dying and their loved ones.
But God has a purpose for us in these days that is uniquely aligned with us. He knows our spiritual gifts, abilities, passions, limitations, and temptations. He knows what he can do with us if we are fully his. And he wants to use us in ways we cannot imagine.
Would you take a moment right now to pray? Tell the Lord that you want him to use your life fully. Ask him to empower you, equip you, mold you, and make you his instrument for kingdom purposes. Then ask him to lead you to the service that he uniquely intends for you.
Paraphrase the prayer of the prophet: “O Lord, you are my Father; I am the clay, and you are my potter; I am the work of your hands.” Now trust him to mold and use your clay for his greatest glory and our greatest good.
John Wesley noted: “One of the principal rules of religion is, to lose no occasion of serving God. And, since he is invisible to our eyes, we are to serve him in our neighbor; which he receives as if done to himself in person, standing visibly before us.”
Which of your neighbors will you serve today?