No, Sam wasn’t our beloved dog. And, no, Sam isn’t dead. But he is gone. Ladies and gentlemen, Sam The Intern has left the building. I no longer hear the whirl of his overworked computer, the busy tapping of the keyboard or the sound of the lid being screwed back on his water bottle. Of course, most of you are wondering why you should even care about how Sam spent the past 16 months of his life. But it does matter.
Almost 2 years ago I contacted Sam and offered him a job working on a DVD teaching series that has the potential to impact a lot of lives. The problem was that I didn’t have any money to pay him. With apparently nothing better to do, Sam agreed. We sent him for some training so that he could go through the uncomfortable process of raising his own salary—much like a missionary would do. And God provided in amazing ways! In fact, time and time again, our God provided for every need as we accomplished something that we should have never been able to do.
It’s no secret that we live in a me first world—it’s been that way for an awfully long time. The Apostle Paul said it this way as he wrote about Timothy: “For there is no one here like him who will readily demonstrate his deep concern for you. Others are busy with their own concerns, not those of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:20-21 (NET)
I know we all have needs. And I know there is often a steep price to pay for being other-centered. But do we realize that except for one relatively minor exception, the entire world consists of others?
Too often the cry of our hearts is, “What about me?” as we see others being blessed in envy-inducing ways. But even in our day, the promises of God stand true for those willing to believe them.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
I have spent the past 30 years of my life standing on this promise, and continue to find it to be true. I have spent 30 years watching others stand on this promise, and it has proven true in their lives as well. And, unfortunately, I have spent 30 years watching too many Christians seek after their own interests first—and pay an unwanted price for their unbelief.
In following God’s leading, Sam has moved on to the next leg of his journey. I have no question that God will continue to bless him in amazing ways. But this tribute isn’t just for Sam. I would personally like to thank and honor all of you who faithfully give of yourselves for the sake of Christ and those He loves.
From pastors to campus ministers to missionaries, from small group leaders to Sunday school teachers to worship team members, from those who clean the church to those who pray to those who write checks, from mothers to fathers to all types of caregivers—I thank and commend you all! Sometimes you may think that no one cares, that it really doesn’t matter, but trust me, heaven is watching! I encourage you not to lose heart at the cost of love in our selfish world.
“For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name, in having served and continuing to serve the saints.” Hebrews 6:10 (NET)
“So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NET)
“So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NET)
His promises are true as ever!