Keep Up the Good Work


most who knew him called him Buddy. To a Sunday School classroom full of ten- and eleven-year-old boys, he was old and out of touch. He had grown up during the Great Depression, so I am sure his educational opportunities were limited. He walked with a limp, but we never asked about it. In retrospect, I often wondered why he subjected himself to the unruly behavior of an unappreciative group of boys Sunday after Sunday. I think I have an answer.

I do not remember a single lesson he taught. I remember no powerful principles for life that he imparted to us. What I do remember is that he was there every Sunday. Consistently, faithfully, and patiently, he attempted to teach class of boys with very brief attention spans and a variety of interests that seemed much more exciting than a Sunday School lesson.

My next memory of Buddy is twelve years later, standing in the waiting area of the Intensive Care Unit. In a matter of years, my father’s heart had failed, and he was snatched from our lives at the age of fifty-nine. Once again, I cannot remember anything Buddy said; but I will always remember that he was there with us when we needed a friend.

I have often thought of Buddy, wondering if he ever knew the effect his faithfulness, patience, and love had on that class of boisterous boys. I have not kept track of my classmates, but I know one whose life was eternally affected by the quiet, consistent, caring presence of that simple man. It was nothing he said that influenced my life. It was what he was.

Buddy is a beautiful example for teachers, pastors, youth workers, coaches, and mentors who often want to give up. If that describes you, take a page from Buddy’s playbook. Do not worry so much about what to say. Just be there! Be patient, consistent, and loving. Stay the course! Do not let weariness and frustration trip you up. Your positive influence might not be evident yet, but you are having an effect. God will use you to change some lives just as He used Buddy to change mine.

I never told Buddy how much he meant to me, but I am sure he knows now. One day, when God calls me home or Jesus snatches me away, Buddy will be one of those to whom I will say, “Thank you for giving to the Lord, for I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am so glad you gave.” (“Thank You” by Ray Boltz)

In writing to the Galatian church, Paul wrote this Galatians 6:9: “Let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up.” Nothing you do for others in Jesus’ Name is ever a waste of time. Nothing! So, keep doing the good work! Your Father sees it.