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What a phenomenal message from co-pastor David Griffin today at c|Life and to think I almost missed it; not the sermon, but the opportunity to serve. Early this morning I got a call from a friend that took me back a number of years ago to a Sunday when my phone began to chime with an incoming call, the name on the display all too familiar. It was a co-worker, Mary, let’s call her, who I am convinced lived to annoy me with questions and issues not at all related to me as a chaplain. In a tone of contempt (without answering the phone of course) I yelled out her name as if it would somehow make both the call and the caller go away. “They know I am not the appropriate party to take whatever the problem is this time too,” I said aloud. “Why, why, why doesn’t she just call the right person to start with and not bother me with questions I cannot answer? I’m getting ready to go to church, I’ve got better things to do than serve as a personal receptionist to direct Mary’s call to the right individual.” After a few moments, the phone went silent and the screen cleared. Removing the phone from the charger I went back to my perch at the dining room table to drink my coffee and play a round or two of Candy Crush, phone in hand. Feeling a strong sense of guilt I thought it best to at least be courteous and return the call. Her voice was broken, her wailing sobs made it difficult for me to understand what she was saying at first. “I didn’t know who else to call, you’re the only pastor I know to turn too. You’re my chaplain”, Mary said, “and I don’t know what to do”. Mary had lost a patient earlier that week she had grown very close too and was extremely distraught. You see, in the field of hospice care, it is virtually impossible not to get close and learn to love those we care for. This particular patient was endeared by all of us, including me. Yes, she was special, very special, particularly to Mary who had walked with her from beginning to end, and the emotional pain she felt with her passing had pushed her to the breaking point, her grief was overwhelming. We talked for a considerable amount of time, she poured out her heart, I listened. I was able to share several comforting passages of scripture helping her catch God’s perspective on her need and cope. We prayed together and then after I felt she would be okay, we said bye-bye to one another and the phone went silent. She had left the conversation feeling relief - I felt ashamed. The message David preached today was on the subject of Christian Service. He brought out many salient and thought-provoking points every follower of Jesus should take note of, and I truly pray you will take the time to watch this sermon when it goes online in a day or two. Of the many things I took home with me leaving the building this morning, one was to remember how I almost missed an opportunity to serve and that at a critical moment in someone’s life. Sometimes the call to serve and the time when the call goes out (or comes in) is not opportune or convenient, maybe catching you in a less than kindhearted mood (like mine once was - yes, I am still human), but go ahead and answer the phone - you just never know, it may be a service call.