“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”
–Isaiah 58:6-8
Our good friend Ed passed away a few weeks ago, and I was truly honored to say a few words at his funeral. I wanted to write this week’s devotion in his memory. I hope that when you have finished reading it, you will feel like you know him in some measure.
Ed was a very special person. He always tried to look at life from the perspective of others as well as himself. His warmth and caring made you feel loved and important. He was a positive and outgoing guy, and he was always ready to lend a helping hand.
But unless they were part of the conversation, he rarely talked about the personal challenges which he overcame. While these obstacles impeded him, they did not stop him altogether. I can honestly say that he overcame difficulties that would have totally stopped others.
I know I have become a better person as a result of knowing Ed, but while there are many characteristics I could share, there is one that I would like to single out: the quality of servanthood. Jesus said that the greatest person in His kingdom must learn to be the servant of all. Ed spent most of his life in service to others, changing many people’s lives for the better. He was an active member in the Lions Club for several years, and he raised a lot of money for blind people. Sometimes he got a chance to help blind and visually impaired people one-on-one, and he always jumped at that chance when it arrived. These people would have otherwise been overlooked amid the red tape of life, but Ed didn’t allow any dead-end circumstances to stop him from serving others.
Jesus told us about the true path to greatness, but he also showed us that path through the example of His own life. Aside from these two things, He also taught about this truth in His parables. One parable was all about the good Samaritan, who went out of his way to serve another.
Unlike most of us, that was the path that Ed followed,. Instead of asking who his neighbor was, he reached out to everyone.
Let me offer a few examples of his servanthood which changed my life. I remember standing beside him as we raised money for others who were less fortunate. Upon hearing about how Ed took the jobs that others didn’t want, I looked closer at his life. I saw that he really did put in long hours of work with no thought of personal gain. Upon further reflection, I noticed that Ed was always enthusiastic, whether he was helping someone directly or setting up chairs at club meetings.
Ed’s life fascinated me, for as I got to know him more, I discovered that the concept of service was a lifestyle for him, and not just something he did when he felt like it. When he tackled a project, he tried to give it his all. Even amidst the challenges he faced towards the end of his life, he was a beacon of hope.
I said earlier that Ed was responsible for changing lives. He not only changed my life, but my wife Stephanie’s as well. At Lions Club meetings, he always made sure we were seated next to each other. He also loved to play matchmaker in other ways. He often drove us home from club meetings, giving us another chance to talk and get to know each other. When we started going out, he would tell me just how special Stephanie was. In one way, I didn’t really need much encouragement from him, but in another way, I will always appreciate receiving it anyway.
After our wedding, he dropped us off at the hotel where we spent our honeymoon. He wanted to come in and stay a while with us, but we wouldn’t let him. I know he was just kidding, but I had to pretend to be persistent.
At the beginning of this post, I said I hoped you would come to feel that you knew Ed In some way. In a wider context, his life presents a challenge to all of us. I know that Ed will live on in my heart, and Stephanie’s as well. I hope that after sharing this memorial story, the same is true for you.
Ed’s life reminds me of the good Samaritan, who went out of his way for others. I pray that because of ed’s example, I would learn more about reaching out to my neighbors. I also pray that all of us would look past our own comfort, and towards the greater good of others.
ed’s life points the way to the cross, if we choose to see that within his story. He also emulates Jesus Christ, the greatest servant of all, who gave His life for everyone who would accept His love, and who lives today through the Holy Wpirit. Drawing close to that servant, therefore, will allow us to face our lives with greater courage and fortitude, while providing hope for the future.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.