Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Joy (05/18/06)
TITLE: Whistling Will
By Anita Neuman
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Will was a janitor. And he loved his job. Not every aspect of his job, mind you. There were some parts of the job that really turned his stomach. Those were the days he really concentrated on his favourite Bible verse. Then he’d start whistling and get the job done. That’s why the other staff thought he was nuts. Of course they never said so out loud. That wouldn’t be very politically correct. But he heard them talking. Anyway, he really did love working there.
He used to work in a big, fancy church. It was honest work. He enjoyed helping God’s people, even when they were ungrateful, or worse, oblivious. He loved being in God’s house every day, making sure everything was just as clean and pretty as could be every time a group of worshippers was due to show up. He didn’t even mind staying late to clean up after Saturday night events, even though he would’ve preferred to be home with his family. But after a couple of years, Will started to feel like he wasn’t really serving God like he should. That verse about doing things “unto the least of these” stuck in his head and wouldn’t let go. The church people he knew weren’t “the least of these”. Sure, they needed a custodian, and he was a good one. But Will used the building just as much as they did. He couldn’t help but feel that in serving this church, he was really serving himself. The day he gave his notice was the happiest and scariest day of his life – next to getting married, of course.
These last few years Will spent his days cleaning things viler than what most folks would care to imagine. He was the one who cleaned up the vomit when one of the residents didn’t make it to the bathroom. He was the one who scrubbed the urine stains out of the ten-year-old carpet. He even had the pleasure of cleaning up every time the newest resident decided to paint his room brown. But he didn’t mind. Not so much. He’d just strike up his favourite tune and get the job done.
These folks were “the least of these”. Not because they weren’t as valuable as folks who had all their mental faculties. But just because most people in the world wouldn’t give two hoots if Denny didn’t get clean bedsheets every time he dirtied himself, or if Marta ate off a dusty floor. The staff there gave two hoots, and Will respected them for it. But they sure didn’t whistle when they had messes to clean up.
One thing Will had learned was that when he served “the least of these”, he really started to love them. Love like he never thought possible when the folks could never really love him back. A real Jesus sort of love. He never figured on having such a deep love for Denny and Marta and all the rest of them.
He also never figured on having to whistle quite so much. Not that he didn’t like whistling. He enjoyed it, truth be told. But if he’d known how tough the job would be ahead of time, he might not’ve had the guts to show up that first day. Once he was there, though, he was going to see it through. When that first mess happened and the mop just wasn’t cutting it, he had to get his brain focused hard on why he was there. The best way was to start whistling. He picked up that scrub brush and thought up the best song he could think up. And that was it. He whistled that song every day since then. And he didn’t plan on stopping. Ever.
There is joy in serving Jesus,
As I journey on my way
Joy that fills the heart with praises,
Every hour and every day.
There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus,
Joy that throbs within my heart;
Every moment, every hour,
As I draw upon His power,
There is joy, joy, joy that never shall depart.
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