Message by Andy Kirkham, Elder June 17, 2018
Good morning, and happy Father’s Day to all you dads here this morning. I was told it might be helpful to those who don’t know me to briefly tell you who I am and where I’m from. So, briefly, I am Andy Kirkham, born and raised in Rochester, New York, graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. I served in the Air Force for 26 years, for the majority of those years as a Chinese linguist, and in 1992 my wife, Myong Cha, and our two daughters, Pauline and Amy, relocated from Hawaii to Maryland for my final Air Force assignment, Fort Meade. Our son, Song, stayed in Hawaii to become an emergency room medical technician,and now has a wonderful wife and three children. Amy and her husband Lance Bergersen, a Howard County Police detective, have two beautiful daughters and live in Severn. Amy has degrees in elementary education and special education and is also a certified American sign language interpreter and has been assisting a special needs student in Anne Arundel County for more than two years. Pauline is a retirement accounts manager at T. Rowe Price in Owings Mills, is exceptionally gifted in food preparation, and is a loving auntie to Amy’s twochildren. Myong Cha, whom I met and married in South Korea, in addition to being a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, is currently a talented cake decorator at the Food Lion in Odenton.
I retired from the Air Force in 1995 and went intoreal estate for 14 years, and am now an Operations Manager at Athletic Performance Inc., in Gambrills, Maryland, which is a campus of athletic venues that enables mostly young athletes to train for, compete in and enjoy playing the sport or sports of their choosing. I have been at that location for almost 9 years. I joined Laurel Presbyterian Church in 2004 when Louise McNally, God rest and Bless hersoul, conscripted me into the Sanctuary Choir, where I continue to sing. I amcurrently an elder on Session, for a second time, and through the peculiar mysteries of Session, your lay message bearer this morning.
This morning’s scripture is from Romans 12: 1-13.
Listen for a word from God.
12 I beseech[a] you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which
isyour [b]reasonable service. 2 And do not be
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and
perfect will of God.
3 For I say, through the
grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of
himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as
God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members
do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many,
are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that
is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let
us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he
who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in
exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with
diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without
hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with
brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the
Lord; 12 rejoicing in
hope, patient[c] in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given[d] to hospitality.
May God bless our hearing and our understanding of this scripture.
There are times when I know I waste time, when I’m unnecessarily self-indulgent, and when I just want to watch some of the TV shows I’ve DVR’d, or watch sports ad nauseum. But there are other times, such as when I’m at work, that I feel the need to get things done, to get my to-do’s done as thoroughly and as quickly as possible because I know there’s going to be a deluge of random, unscheduled things that will have to be done pretty much “right now”, customers wanting to register their children for classes or clinics, or a coach calling to reserve one of the turf fields or flex courts for a team practice, or might be able to host their event. And someone calling to obtain detailed information about our facility to see if we
then there’s always “can I get some ice” for an injury;
or “someone’s spilled Gatorade on the court; do you have some
towel I can use to clean up the spill”;
or “one of the kids threw up on the turf field…..” and the
look on their face is they want to offer to help clean it up, but are hoping
I’ll say “I’ve got it”, which I do;
or “the toilet in the men’s’ room isn’t flushing”;
or “we’re supposed to have the Air Dome field for soccer at
7:30pm but that baseball team hasn’t left the field yet”;
or “we need a batting cage up on field 2”;
or “toilet paper has run out in the ladies’ bathroom”….
I’m not complaining because these are all things that fall
into my basket of responsibilities and I take a certain amount of pride in
being able to keep things moving forward in a positive direction for our
clients and ensuring an exceptional experience while they are using our
That’s why when Fridays roll around, I look forward to my
6:45am-3pm shift to be able to take care of several things that have a deadlineof 3pm Friday, and also to planning or completing other things that have had to
fall by the wayside during the week.
It’s a comparatively quiet shift for me, only a couple of employees
working, and very few clients.
I always have a good chat as soon as I arrive with an 80-yr
old friend who religiously does one of his various workout routines Mon – Fri
early in the morning before I get there.
He usually leaves by 7:45 and then, after running through several tasks
on the checklist for opening the facility, I begin to focus on the things I
want to accomplish during my shift.
A couple of Fridays ago, I had an epiphany of sorts triggered
by someone who regularly comes in on Friday for a personal training session, andwith whom I always exchange cordial greetings and in a very brief way “catch
up” on any significant things that have been going on. We had only been able to exchange the
briefest of greetings since he was running a little late for his session.
When he had finished his workout and was leaving I said the
usual “have a great weekend, Mark” and went back to what I was doing, expecting
the usual “you as well”. When I didn’t
hear that response, I looked up to see him turning to walk out the door, as ifhe had stopped to say something other than his usual farewell but had decided
otherwise and started to leave when he saw me turn back to my business at hand. I watched him continue to head for the doors
to walk out and found myself calling out “Hey Mark!” I had no idea what I was
going to say when he turned around and I just blurted out “Is there something I
can help you with?” And with a slight
grin he sheepishly said “No, not really, you look like your wrestlin’ with
something there, I don’t want to interrupt.”
And I said “Don’t be ridiculous, never to busy for you.” And so, he came
back toward the front desk and started to tell me that he had had a really
wonderful visit from his son and family from North Carolina the previous
weekend, it had been over a year since he had seen his son and daughter-in-law
including two grandsons 8 and 7 and a granddaughter 5.
I found myself listening intently as he described three days
of pure joy - midway through I silently
thanked God that we hadn’t been interrupted by anyone or thing. He had wanted to share that with someone, I
don’t know, maybe specifically with me.
I was grateful that he had chosen to share his experience with me.
After he left, I couldn’t help thinking… how many people have
I missed the opportunity to engage with because I was so absorbed in some
menial task or consumed with completing a short list of to-do’s, especially on
Fridays when I really have more “leisure time” than other days of the week. And even so, there are times during those
other days when maybe I need to be more aware of the people to whom I’m
providing customer service. They may
need an extra minute or two of my time.
And what happens in that extra minute or two might change their whole
day. And the people they meet and know
later on during their day. And it very
well may change my whole day. And the people
I meet and know. I might need that
extended interaction as much as they do!
It took a day or two more as I occasionally thought about this to
actually have that epiphany I mentioned – which was/is: my time is really not
my time, it’s God’s time. He gave it to
me before I knew what time was. He gave
it to me, He gave it to us, to carry out the Word brought into this world
through the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This “time” is any time, all time, to be
used as much as possible in the expression of the special gift, or gifts, each
of us has; to minister to the sick, the poor, the lonely, the homeless; to
children in our public and private schools; to give, be it financially, through
teach our children, the children in our family, the children here at LPC, the
relationships, in personal relationships, in charity. So… I
service, providing emotional support; to lead, in public office, here in thechurch, in community activities, at work; to show mercy in professional
can begin each day with my list of things that I think I have to get done or –
and this is so simple - I can ask God how he would like me to use His time. And perhaps – ah another epiphany - He will allow
me the right amount of time to get those things done that I think I need to get