"Still Vertical" - A Tribute to Dedication

I remember being in a church board meeting a few years ago; some 18 church members were discussing some important issues and our church's ministry. At one point the senior pastor I was working with at the time looked around at the group and said, "I just want to thank you for being here tonight, because I don't know how some of you are still vertical."

What he was referring to was the fact that so many of the church members sitting in that room were going through tough, personal trials in their lives. One had been through a recent divorce, several others had spouses or other loved ones with cancer, and one had even been diagnosed with cancer himself. They probably wanted to be home - no, they probably needed to be home - resting and taking care of themselves, but there they were, carrying out the business of the church.

I can be a whiner. But then I see all these people pouring their heart and soul into the church (or whatever they do) despite their circumstances. It humbles me to say the least.

How can you do hours worth of landscaping or construction work at the church when you've had bouts with cancer and are "getting up in years"? I don't know, but there are gentlemen at my church who do. How can you continue to competently and passionately lead a church as moderator when your wife has just passed away? I don't know, but I've watched someone do it. How can you cook amazing meals for 100 people every Wednesday after you've been caring for an ill husband? I don't know, but we have those ladies. How can you spend dozens of hours a week coordinating a children's ministry program when you have three kids of your own and two part-time jobs? I don't know, but we have one very special lady who does. How often do teenagers show up for meetings or rehearsals when they have homework and a social life waiting for them? I don't know, but we have several who do.

And they would probably all tell you that their strength comes from beyond.

Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord." That's what these saints do. And as I think about what some of them have endured, 1 Corinthians 15:58 also comes to mind: "Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

The amazing part is that these folks are so often the silent ones. They quietly do what God has gifted them to do, never complain, and never expect any praise. They are not thanked and recognized near enough. This is my tribute to dedication, to those who are "still vertical."

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