He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready. Luke 12:38(NLT)
St. Boniface is pictured (above) baptizing and dying. This sums-up his life’s work.
Boniface was born Wynfrith, in England around 680; he was nicknamed Boniface which means “good deeds”. He listened to missionaries talking when he was only 5 and begged his father to let him be trained to serve God. His father finally agreed when Wynfrith was 7, and sent him to a monastery.
This call on Boniface’s life never wavered. He first went to Friesland (modern Holland), but had little success and was expelled due to a war that was heating up. He next went to Germany and had remarkable success, so much so that his efforts established a strong church presence there, and eventually led to him being consecrated bishop.
And this is where the story really gets good.
Boniface never forgot his first place of service. As an old man he resigned the office of bishop and returned to Friesland, the place of his failure, and began to preach Christ; this time with a great response.
On the eve of Pentecost, June 5, 754, he was preparing a group of Frisians for confirmation when they were attacked and killed by heathen warriors.
Perhaps all of us, especially somewhat retired preachers (and maybe a few retired bishops), would do well to remember what Boniface did; he remembered his most humbling failure, and then humbled himself even lower to go back to that point of failure and serve Christ; like Boniface, saint and martyr, who lived humbly and died busy doing what Christ called him to do….stay close to God, stay close to people, and bring the two together.
The whole point of the lesson when you are humbled is to learn humility. Christ teaches us this so that we can understand what it is like to be a humble servant like him.
It’s often said that Christ will come for his beloved in one of two ways – in death, or at the sound of the trumpet. Either way, to be prepared to meet Christ is to be found doing exactly that for which the Master called and gifted you.
My family, and those who know me best, know my preference for when it is my time to go home to Christ, it will be like Boniface. I want it to happen in the saddle as it were; I would love to end doing my best for Him, perhaps having just preached the best sermon of my life, and then expire during a Sunday afternoon nap.
When he comes for me I want to be ready.
No doubt about it – nobody gets to choose when that time is that our earthly days will end; it makes such elemental sense to prepare to meet God.
What will YOU be doing in that moment?