There are 7.6 Billion people on the planet today, which means there are 7.6 Billion ways of being human.
In ministry, you get to know a very tiny slice of earth’s amazing variety of people. People with different hobbies, personalities, jobs, cultures, world views and opinions. You discover very quickly that being part of a Christian community is sometimes the only thing that some people have in common.
So, let me tell you about Alf.
Alf was particularly intriguing. He regularly attended church gatherings on Sunday mornings. “He’s been coming for years”, said one member of the congregation. Alf, hardly spoke to anyone. Never sang. Always arrived early and sat in the same place each week. He lived alone in a scrupulously clean flat. He dressed smartly but only ever wore slippers of the moccasin kind. He was a ‘good giver’ the treasurer said.
The first time I knocked on Alf’s door he welcomed me in with a grunt.
While he set about making a pot of tea, I glanced around the flat looking for some kind of conversation starter. But it was really quite empty. No clues. No photographs or pictures. No ornaments. Nothing. Alf returned with a tray of tea etc and a few biscuits. He sat down opposite me and poured the tea. It was then that I noticed he had a large pocket watch strapped to his ankle. So, I asked him about it. “Don’t see many people wearing watches on their ankles these days Alf”. He grinned. “They get a better work out on the legs”, he replied.
With that, he escorted me into a small room that was a workshop. It was full of watches and carriage clocks. Some spread out in little pieces on clean white clothes. The light in the room was so bright that it bounced off everything. Every piece in the room sparkled. It was dazzling.
“This is what I do”, he said, with a big smile. “I’m like Jesus of the Clock world. I redeem time pieces. I take the old and the battered, and I make them like knew again. Patiently and lovingly. I like to reveal their original beauty”.
Hmmm, can’t argue with that.