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Joining Jesus with Cliff the Crossing Guard

Do you really know the people God has placed in your life to minister to? Our family would like to take a moment to share our Joining Jesus moment with a stranger, who is now our friend through Jesus. We are blessed to have the ability to walk to work, to school and yes, to play at Sonshine Community Park. As such, we walk to St. John’s as much as we can, not just for the exercise, although an excellent demonstration of good stewardship for our bodies, but for the opportunity for Leah and I to engage in the life of our children. The conversations, encouragement and interaction those minutes of each day are so valuable (another stewardship moment).

The start our current school year brought with it a new crossing guard at the corner of 7th and Hawthorn. The first week of school, we greeted one another with Hello’s and Good Morning’s, which in short order led to sharing of our first names. Over the course of the last 6 months, we have come to know our crossing guard, Cliff, quite well. Cliff is a member at Cabrini, along with his wife, and he enjoys this work in his retirement. Cliff is an avid sports fan, following his Wisconsin sports teams with devoted passion. Throughout the year, our family has surprised Cliff with gifts of appreciation for his work. Greeting cards filled with a gift card to Panera or Starbucks thanking him for his consistent presence on the corner of 7th and Hawthorn. Recently, our family had the privilege to present Cilff with cards of appreciation from our Kindergarten class, thanking Cliff, for his work in the community. Receiving the cards, Cliff shared he has never received so many notes of thanks, appreciation, and sharing of Christ’s love.

A few years ago, as a congregation, we went through the book Joining Jesus on His Mission: How to be an Everyday Missionary. The author, Rev. Greg Finke, challenges his readers to think about missionary work, not just overseas, or in impoverished areas, rather with people God has placed in your life now; at work/school, your congregation, and your neighborhood (not just where you live, but the people you associate with on a daily basis). Leah and I were both struck with conviction to live out what Rev. Finke discusses in his book, particularly on page 54. “In order to join Jesus on his redemptive mission, all we really have to do is 1.) Enjoy People, and 2.) Seek, recognize, and respond to what Jesus is already doing in the lives of the people we are enjoying.”

Do you have a Cliff in your life? Are you enjoying people and recognizing what Jesus is doing in their life and in your life? St. John’s is a Discipleship Congregation, where we Connect, Care, and Share in Christ. Our prayer for you today, and every day, is that you embrace the love our Lord has provided for you today, and share that love with some you know…and someone you don’t.

Leah and Craig Toerpe