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Categorized | From the Pulpit

The Man across the hall

Pastor David G. Ward

Pilgrim Bible Church

361 Pine Street, Cedar Springs

Some time ago members of our family gathered for a funeral. The room where we gathered was remarkably full for the passing of a lady of 95 years. The occasion was marked by kind words and fond memories.

Across the hall, nobody was there. Not one person stopped by to pay their last respects until my wife’s cousin recognized the name. She knew him as a resident of the County Home that her mother had managed. His hobby was to buy used mowers at yard sales and fix them up to mow the grounds. When it was time for his memorial service, a few care workers from his most recent nursing facility slipped in. They knew him as the shriveled shell he had become after leaving the County Home as a more robust man. The member of the funeral home staff who officiated this indigent funeral knew him as a man who attended church every Sunday in bib overalls.  No family members and a mere 12 people attended his memorial—a paltry number to commemorate a life of 88 years. Almost no one was there to offer respect to a seeming nobody.

But the table next to his casket told a far different story. It was covered with medals from a life of valor. Forgotten details revealed he had served with distinction in World War II. At least once, he had single-handedly taken out an enemy sniper’s nest. Medals earned included a Purple Heart, and both a Bronze and Silver Star. 

The man across the hall that almost everyone treated as a nobody was really somebody!  He was a forgotten hero, dying alone, without respect. 

It made me wonder. Who is the person across the hall, street, room, or workplace from us? Do we treat them as another nameless, faceless, valueless individual?  Or, do we see them for the person they are?

Lord, open our eyes, our minds, our hearts to truly see the “nobody’s” who surround us.

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you” John 15:12 (NLT).

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