Recently, I met an amazing man named Merlin. Merlin is an 81-year-old woodworker who can outhustle a team of 20-something construction workers. During our church’s recent building project, I watched Merlin donating his God-given gift for our new worship space. The all-wooden stage? Merlin’s work. The 24 beautiful cafe tables for the lobby? Merlin’s work. The 12-foot conference room table that takes your breath away? Merlin’s work.
In the middle of the project, I asked our general contractor how much money Merlin was single-handedly saving our church by donating his time and talent. “50 thousand dollars,” the contractor replied. Stunned, I went to find Merlin to thank him for his generous heart. Eventually I found him, sitting on the floor in his sawdust-covered jeans, quietly eating a sandwich out of his old-school lunch box. He smiled at me, nodded a “You’re welcome,” and went back to work.
Merlin makes me think of Peter’s words about the goal of our God-given gifts: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others . . . so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10,11).
In the years to come, many people will share a coffee in the lobby, share ideas in the conference room, and preach/sing the gospel from our church’s gorgeous stage. They might forget Merlin’s name, but I pray that we all remember the glorious name of Jesus. And I pray that your gift does the same.