I Was Just Coming To Work

Today's post-Thanksgiving devotion is a bit more personal than usual.  Earlier this week my family had the unbelievable privilege of celebrating with my dad when he retired from Walt Disney World, after working there for nearly 34 years.  

For the past 20 years or so he's worked in Guest Relations at the Magic Kingdom, and he became an institution--the patriarch of the department in more ways than one. 

One after the other, his colleagues, supervisors and friends spoke of all the ways my dad has impacted their lives--through his words of encouragement, admirable work ethic, kindness to everyone, a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, a hug when one was needed...  

His co-workers and supervisors treated my dad like royalty, and us along with him.  He was honored like no other Disney World Cast Member, and that's saying something.  There were things that were done for him that we were told had never been done for anyone--ever.  

People my dad has worked with over the years stood in line to hug him, to take a photo with him, and to shed a few tears with him.  

One young woman, who was sobbing, came up to me and told me how much she would miss my dad.  "You have no idea how much he means to me," she said.  I looked around at that moment and saw more than a few people wiping their eyes, trying to find ways to express what they were feeling.

It was overwhelming and beautiful to experience all of that gratitude.  All those people gathered to give thanks for my dad, and to show their gratitude for the way he'd lived his life among them, showed grace to them, demonstrated the love of Jesus in front of them. 

As I was hugging him at the end of the day, I told him how very proud I was of him--and how proud I was to be his son.  My dad told me, "I had no idea I was doing so much, I was just coming to work."  

Those words have stuck with me for the past couple of days.  "I was just coming to work..."   

There is a verse in Ecclesiastes which reads, "Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might."  

My dad never once dreamed that he one day work in Guest Relations at Walt Disney World.  He'd trained to be a teacher, after all, and to serve in ministry to the Church.  
But God in his wisdom allowed him to work in a place where he taught so many people lasting lessons about goodness and grace and where he did incredible ministry in the name of Jesus.  

Today I am so grateful for my dad--for his faithful Christian witness, his genuine love of others and his desire to do whatever God has given him to do with all of his might.  I can only pray that I will have half as much of a lasting effect on the people God has placed in my path.  

Blessings to you all and prayers of thanksgiving.  May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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