A Sermon Walking

July 15, 2010

Have you ever seen a sermon walking? Listen to this story.

Reporters and city officials gathered at a Chicago railroad station one afternoon in 1953. The person they were meeting was the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner. A few minutes after the train came to a stop, a giant of a man – six feet four inches – with bushy hair and a large mustache stepped from the train. Cameras flashed. City officials approached him with hands outstretched. Various people began telling him how honored they were to meet him.

The man politely thanked them and then, looking over their heads, asked if he could be excused for a moment. He quickly walked through the crowd until he reached the side of an elderly black woman who was struggling with two large suitcases. He picked up the bags and with a smile, escorted the woman to a bus. After helping her aboard, he wished her a safe journey. As he returned to the greeting party he apologized, “Sorry to have kept you waiting.”

The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary doctor who had spent his life helping the poor in Africa. In response to Schweitzer’s action, one member of the reception committee said with great admiration to the reporter standing next to him, “That’s the first time I ever saw a sermon walking.”

Now, have you ever seen a servant leader? Listen to this story.

During the American Revolution a group of exhausted soldiers were struggling to repair a wall of stone and dirt to protect them from enemy bullets.

One soldier was shouting instructions, but made no move to help the others. An officer in plain clothing happened to ride by, and asked the man why he wasn’t helping.

“Sir,” he retorted, “I am a corporal!”

The officer apologized, got down from his horse, and helped the soldiers himself. When the work was done, he turned to the corporal. “Mr. Corporal,” he said, “next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander in chief, and I will come and help you again.”

The corporal hadn’t recognized General George Washington. Now that is a servant leader.

And now we go to a more sensitive question.

Have you ever seen a public servant?

I have. These are public officials who fall in line behind airport ticket counters, who would not take advantage of their pubic positions to gain special favors or to be treated differently and who know that what they do speak resoundingly louder than what they say.

These are the people who inspire us.

Underneath the greatness of a Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the service of a General George Washington and the meekness of the public official is the presence of humility. A rare quality we find in many of our leaders these days.

Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” has reminded us that the key people who brought success to their business organizations showed a consistent pattern of humility and though they shy away from the public view they are always noticed because of the great things they do and the greatness they have.

Michel de Montaigne says: “Few men have been admired by their servants.”

Maybe because they ignore Jesus’ admonition that “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

F. B. Meyer said: “I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other; and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we could reach them. I now find that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other. It is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower; that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.” [1]

And isn’t Meyer so right?

[1] Authors unknown but stories taken from The CyberSalt Digest.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. lani

    i hope this will put a big-jolt to all those who are “super-mayabang & genius” in our working place. Its ok to feel-proud but not to the extent that you whiplash everyone with “inhuman harsh words and actions” on the things you had done. And most of all dwell-into the “untouchables-group”.

    i still salute & draw admiration/inspiration to those people who exhibit great works but with great humility.

    as God said, those who are humbled shall be exalted and those who are exalted shall be humbled

  2. Kenneth

    Sir Francis,

    Your articles always inspire me and keeps me reminded of the responsibility of being a servant leader, a role model (a walking sermon) and a humble person. People are always in a rush and keeping pace of the beating and cheering sound of the “rat race” only to realize in the end that they failed to appreciate life as it passed them by. As for me, I have learned to keep pace with what the Lord has it terms of direction and plans for me. I am not in a race with others but in a race with myself and with my faith.

    Sir, may I respectfully request correction on the second sentence pertaining to public servants…instead of “pubic” to public positions. God bless and may you and yoru work continue to inspire people.


  3. dan

    it takes a genuine character to be humble when you are on top… =)

  4. Wilna

    It’s true that being a leader doesn’t mean you need to be always at the top. Leadership is something you need to set an example for people to follow you. By humbling yourself down makes a good leadership, and it will turn up to be a chain reaction. One by way people will tend to follow what you are doing.

  5. Maria Ricel B. Nitollano

    really inspiring!!!

  6. gina

    Thanks for always inspiring us.. humility first before greatness!!!

    May God always bless you!

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