Surfing around the Internet, I came across the following satirical obituary. For anyone who's worked in parish ministry for very long (lay or ordained), it strikes a chord. And it offers a particularly appropriate reflection at this time of the year as many churches are preparing to highlight stewardship issues with annual giving campaigns.
Our church was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members: Someone Else.
Someone's passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, Someone did far more than a normal person's share of work. Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or meeting to attend, one name was on everyone's list. "Let Someone Else do it." Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results. "Someone Else can work with that group."
It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers in the church. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed Someone Else would make up the difference.
Someone Else was a wonderful person, sometimes appearing superhuman. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone. We wonder what we are going to do.
Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow. But who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did?
When you are asked to help this year, remember: we can't depend on Someone Else anymore.