He Serves Humbly

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied.  “Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what to do.”  Acts 9:5-6

I did not grow up in a strong, male-led home.  My father was a sweet man who worked a lot.  When he got home from work we ate dinner, he showered, and then fixed himself dessert and watched TV.  On the weekends we didn’t do family activities and outings.  He was just, well, there.  Not bad and not great.  He is an atheist who believes he can work through any problem in life in his own head.

So, when I met my father-in-law, I expected the same.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong.  One of my first encounters with John Shetter lives on in infamy.  And yet shows his commitment to humbly serving others.  You see, I was out visiting my then boyfriend and his parents and we took a short drive from their hometown into nearby Boulder, Colorado.  After a nice morning we had lunch, walked around a bit then headed back for the 20 minute drive home.  Suddenly, my lunch decided it wasn’t agreeing with me.  I whispered to my boyfriend that trouble was brewing.  He then turned to John, who was driving, and said I needed a bathroom – pronto.

The car seemed to have entered hyper speed and we may have turned into the driveway on two wheels.  The first out of the car was John.  He ran to the front door with keys ready and flew the door open for me.  I’m not sure if I have ever been more grateful in my life!

A funny tale for sure but John’s desire to make sure my needs were met as quickly as possible is his calling card throughout his life.

Dad is dedicated to Jesus’ teachings – he approaches all people with consideration, thoughtfulness and patience.  He has given himself in service to so many entities:  church, senior center, hospital, YMCA, underprivileged children.  To serve others, therefore serving God is in his DNA. 

Dan Shetter, youngest son

I didn’t grow up around any devoted Christian men in my life.  In fact, most of the men I’d been around, either through work or school, were not the “humble servant” types.  To see a strong, head of household with a job in the corporate world balance those roles with the character of Jesus is truly a great lesson for us all.

And he wasn’t alone.  I found, as I married John’s son and met so many of their family friends, that he was surrounded by men of humble servanthood.  Men who attended church regularly, went to Bible study, volunteered throughout the community, loved on their families, and talked comfortably about praying for others.  They are bankers and realtors, teachers and business owners.

John’s service to the community is something he prefers to “keep behind the scenes.”  His commitment to our church is exceptional as he has served in leadership, providing children’s messages, and many other tasks too numerous to mention!

Longtime friend, Chuck Allen

My younger daughter recently told me that one of her company’s core values was that everyone be willing to make the office coffee.  I love that.  It makes it clear that no task is too small for anyone throughout the organization.  During a particularly busy season they asked the corporate staff to give one hour a week to the production floor because they were behind on orders.  No job is too big or too small for even the CEO.

That’s how John sees his life.  A few years ago, he helped set up a warming shelter at his church.  On particularly cold nights they open their doors for the homeless to spend the night.  But he didn’t just help set it up.  I have been at their home when he headed off to his shift in the dead of night.  No bells or whistles.  In fact, I wasn’t sure where he was going at first.  Just off to serve the Lord’s flock.

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”  James 2:22

He has even turned his favorite pastime into an act of service.  He loves historical stories, especially related to the old West.  He trained to become an official storyteller, a “Spellbinder,” just so he could go into schools and share his tales.  This imposing 6’ man sits in a tiny school chair and regularly spins yarns about Indian folklore and pioneer heroes.  All because he loves to see smiling little faces.

John doesn’t wait for someone else to fix a problem.  He turns to the Lord for direction and takes a step forward.  He may not always get it right but he knows he is always working from the right heart.  

There’s a lot of “Johns” out there in the world.  Men carrying the weight of their family.  Men on their knees praying for God’s guidance.  Men serving their communities and answering the call to, “feed my sheep.”  So many serve quietly and humbly and we might overlook them.  The noise today is that men are evil, men are self-serving, men need to be less like, well, “men.”  But it is on men, like Saul in our first verse, to whom Jesus placed the weight of the world to spread the Good News.

A humble servant.  A man of strength.  Those aren’t mutually exclusive.  They are an opportunity to achieve God’s holy balance.  


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