The church lawn was expansive and beautiful. John’s yard man not only mowed the grass, he dug out the weeds!
The annual Apple Festival at the church was going to be wonderful! Favorite desserts were brought to the church – some to be eaten, some to be sold. Handmade items were for sale – beautiful baby sweaters and blankets, and the knit hot pads we use to this day. There was bobbing for apples, pony rides around the beautiful lawn – truly a festival!
The day before the festival it rained – poured! The next morning the sky was blue and the sun was warm. The people came!
As the pony was led round and round the lawn, the soggy lawn soon showed the effects. Picture a very large muddy circle – surrounding a lush green lawn. Not good! But how could we stop the rides when there was a line of excited children?
I knew I had to tell John what happened, hopefully before he saw the mess. So the next time he was in town I went to his carefully restored home. This was a visit I did not want to make.
As I told John about the Apple Festival and what had happened to the lawn, I realized he was smiling. And he said something like “Chuck, a lawn should be more than something to look at.” The grass was not his treasure! I have never forgotten what he taught me that day.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” –Matthew 6:19,21 There seem to be two primary ways we can store up treasure in heaven: The first is to worship the Lord, to bring glory to Him. The second is to invest in the lives of people.
The church building and setting did bring glory to God, just as did the temple in Jerusalem. John gave generously to support the physical church, knowing that the church facility would be used by the people of the church and of the community. If John would have been tough on me, as he could easily have been, I doubt that I would have healed as quickly as the lawn did. My memory of the occasion would be very different.
John was a tremendous encouragement to me and to the church.
I believe John lived In Partnership With God. One evidence is how he cared for God’s church – the people more than the building.