Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Greatest of God's Children

One day I heard a commotion outside my door.
The noise was great; more than I could ignore.
I opened the door to see what was the matter.
I saw a crowd—arguing, shouting, making a clatter.

The Preacher said, “I am the greatest; oh so devout.
I have a mighty calling, of which there is no doubt.
To guide and direct God’s flock, I do commit.
Surely, I and the Father are quite close-knit.”

“Now wait just a minute,” another voice squealed.
“The Preacher is great, but the Missionary is greater still.
He makes great sacrifice, going to a distant land.
He obeys God’s calling, can’t you understand?”

Another one yelled, “You both are wrong!
Teachers are God’s chosen and at His side they belong.
They explain God’s Word, line by line.
Teachers are important, necessary and divine.”

“Listen to me,” shouted the leader of Song and Praise.
His voice was heated and his eyes were ablaze.
“I prepare the congregation to hear God’s Word.
To think me not great, would be absurd.”

Another disputed, “God needs me; this I surely feel.
I take up large offerings with my eloquence and skill.
My job is very important; one I plan to keep.
The Church needs money, for supplies and upkeep.

The Nursery Worker could not sit idly by.
“I may not be the greatest, that I won’t deny.
But, I really love children; I can certainly assert.
So, I’m better than the Janitor. He just cleans the dirt.”

Minute by minute and hour by hour, it went.
No one could agree; that much was evident.
I heard from the Choir, and then from the Prayer Team.
But, the Musicians claimed that they were supreme.

There were Greeters, Youth Leaders and Yard Men.
Before one could finish, another would begin.
They grew louder and louder and louder still.
The neighbors came out just to hear them squeal.

I stopped an old man who came hobbling by;
Perhaps he had wisdom on which they could rely.
I told him about the arguing, so long and hard,
And, so much noise, right in my courtyard.

“Who is the greatest? They just can’t agree.
Do you have an answer? Can you be their referee?
Some of them are great, and some are small.
Sir, who among them is the greatest of all?”

The old man sat down, and began to speak.
“There once was a ship’s captain, so proudly unique.
He delivered merchandise to distant ports.
Fine linens, red rubies, diamonds and quartz.”

“He could read maps and follow the stars.
He loved to praise himself, and wrote his own memoirs.
His skills were important, he did report.
Without him, his ship would never reach that distant port.”

“Before sailing, He sat down to make his plan.
He spread out the maps, and began to scan.
But before he was halfway through,
He realized—he needed a crew.”

“He needed strong sailors to raise the sails.
Without them, his mission would surely fail.
The ship needed wind, he had to agree.
Without sails, he would just drift in the open sea.”

“But what if the wind subsided, not blowing at all?
Without wind, the heavy boat would surely stall.
He must have men to row the boat, as a last resort.
Without strong men, he may never reach that distant port.”

“Might one day he step on deck, with his face aghast?
After a storm has torn the sails and broken the mast?
Skilled carpenters and repairmen, he must court,
If he hoped to reach that distant port.”

Then he thought, “There is one job I can’t overlook.
It’s a very long journey, I may need a cook.
If sailors are hungry, the mission may abort.
Then I would never reach that distant port.”

“While making his plans, he saw a rat.
He realized right then that he needed a cat.
The cat must catch the rat before it eats the food,
If the crew gets hungry, they’d be in a bad mood.

“When his plans were finished and through,
He knew he needed talented and skillful crew.
If he grew stingy and cut the crew list short,
His ship might never reach that distant port.”

“My friend, to you this day, I must report.
In order for a boat to reach a distant port,
Not one job can be the greatest of all.
And no task is considered small.”

When his story ended, the old man just stopped.
The crowd was so quiet, I could hear a pin drop.
He got up from his chair and shuffled away.
He had no reason to linger or stay.

Then I saw a sight that seemed so strange.
The attitude in the crowd began to change.
They ceased from clattering and shouting.
Instead, they began dancing and singing.

Those who before, only wanted to jeer,
They lifted their voices and began to cheer.
To those that once they did push and shove,
They began to express their love.

Pleasant smiles replaced scowls.
No longer were there any howls.
A great transformation was underway,
As the crowd dispersed and drifted away.

The old man’s story caused me to groan.
I went into my house and picked up the phone.
I called my church and asked what I might do.
To which I heard, “We have many jobs for you.”

“I’m so glad you’ve listened to God’s call.
Is your calling Great, or is it Small?”
I smiled when questioned, and quietly replied,
“Any task you give me, I will do with great pride.”

“The church has been chosen to spread the Good News.
Each task is important; I don’t know which to choose.
Any job you give me, whether it be Great or Small,
To God, it will be THE GREATEST OF ALL.”

Copyright by Larry Tate 2006

1 comment:

caryn said...

wonderful post! we all need to remember that no matter what God has called us to do, we are all important in his plan. you truly are a talented writer, I am blessed to count you and your wife among my friends.