Serve one another
H enry P. Crowell was a powerful industrialist on the eastern seaboard of our nation quite a few years ago. At the age of fifty he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. In those days there was no treatment available. The doctors told him he was facing a long and lingering death.
He had read about the West—the plains and mountains. He decided he would gather up all he had and take a slow train westward. If he was to die he would die out there on the western prairie surrounded by the mountains.
But he never made it all the way to the mountains. As they were passing through one small town the train stopped to take on provisions. Getting out to stretch his legs, he found a town in despair. There was only one industry, a large mill. It had been mismanaged and was going out of business.
The whole town was going to be wiped out. There was no other work to be had. The people had nowhere to go. Henry P. Crowell, the wealthy and successful industrialist, looked around and said to himself, “Well, I’m going to die somewhere. Might as well die here. Maybe before I die I can help these people.”
He sent back east for his money, bought the mill and took over its management. He started hiring people, then more people and the business boomed. The town became a city. Under his dedicated leadership, out of his love for them and his love for God, a spirit of community cooperation was born; the city was transformed.
Henry P. Crowell did die—at the age of 96! He wrote to his kids back east, “I’m fine; I just got too busy to die.” The business he started he named Quaker Oats.
Like Henry P. Crowell, no matter what your circumstances, you still have the capacity to love and serve. And as you give yourself in love and service, God’s energy will begin to flow through you creating a new future, not just for you but also for all those whom you love and serve.
It was Sir Wilfred Grenfell, the great missionary to Labrador, who said, “The service we render to others is really the rent we pay for our room on this earth. It is obvious that man is himself a traveler, that the purpose of this world is not ‘To Have and to Hold’ but, ‘To Give and to Serve.’
In love, serve one another!
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.