The Doorkeeper

Years ago, when I was in seminary, I served as the youth director of a large suburban Chicago church (Evanston, to be exact).  

Because the church was located near a high crime area, it had a pretty stringent security process, which required someone to staff the front entrance and screen whoever was trying to enter.  

During the day, there was a paid staffer monitoring the entrance, but in the evenings it was zealously guarded by a particular volunteer.  This volunteer--I'll call him Bob--was an older man, with a not-so-convincing gruff demeanor.  Bob was a big guy, and even though he'd stooped some with age, he still set an imposing figure--albeit, one that was pretty soft around the edges.  

Bob's eyesight wasn't the best.  It took a couple of years before he could recognize me through the glass door well enough to let me in on those rare nights when I didn't have my keys with me.  He read his devotional books and his Bible every evening, using a huge magnifying glass to see the words.  

I know what you're thinking.  "Seriously?  A half-blind dude watching the door to the church?  That's pretty safe."  There's some truth in that, I suppose.  

But, all-in-all, Bob was very good at his job. He didn't have a lot of money, and couldn't even walk all that well.  He took the bus or a cab to the church every day (even when there were two feet of snow on the ground), and there were more than a few nights when I had to give him a ride home.  

Yet, he was always there at the door, serving, greeting people, connecting with my youth group kids, and being a calm, caring presence of hospitality.  

I'm in Evanston this morning, sitting outside in the cool morning air, not far from the church I served.  And I got to thinking about Bob, and something he did that I remember so clearly.  

Every day when Bob would show up at the church, he would bring along a little sign to place at the desk where he sat.  On that plaque was the last part of Psalm 84:10, which read: 
"I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked."  
I can still see Bob sitting at that desk, reading his Bible with that huge magnifying glass---faithfully filling his post, night after night.  There were no accolades for Bob.  Not many people saw him doing what he did.  But every night he shuffled to that front desk, put up his sign and served the Lord.  I will never forget him.  

May you find the humility and strength to serve God with whatever gifts you have, in whatever way you can and with the most joy and diligence you can muster.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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