Real Help for Real Living: A tribute to a real servant leader

by Rev. Tony Marciano

Oct. 8, the Charlotte Rescue Mission lost one of it tireless workers.

My executive assistant, Lyn, went home to be with her Lord. Permit me to be a little melancholy as I share with you the life of one whose task was only to serve others.

Lyn would have resonated with the words of Romans 5:3, which says suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope and hope does not disappoint us. What was Lyn’s hope? Where did her confidence come from?

For Lyn, life was hard. She talked to Jesus about her enemies. They were real threats to her world of personal safety. Yet who is the Lyn all of us at the Mission knew and loved? That Lyn was found in the story of Mary and Martha:

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

Preachers argue all the time which should we be like?  Should we be like Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus?  No, they declare, because nothing ever gets done. Then we should be like Martha – always doing for Jesus – being “busy for Jesus.”  No, because you miss the relationship with Jesus. So which one should we be like?

I’d choose Lyn. For what I see in Lyn is a great mix of the strengths of Mary and Martha.

As Martha, the doer, Lyn was the glue that kept her family together. She loved her kids and she loved her grand kids. She came with a servant’s heart and took care of everyone else before she took care of herself.

The Mission saw that all the time. Staff events were always headed by Lyn. She happily served and made sure that everyone was having a great time.

It wasn’t about her – it was about us. If the staff picnic was great; it was because of Lyn. You should have been in her family. Christmas was described as the biggest, best ever. She made sure her family had the best Christmas tree – and never was seen a bare spot. The ornaments had their own section and she was careful to make sure they were properly placed. Sunday dinners at Lyn’s house were no different. Everyone ate well and leftovers were enjoyed all week long.

As Mary, Lyn knew where her strength came from. Both her childhood and her first marriage were rough on her. Never the fading violet, she didn’t reach inward, but reached upward.

In spite of the challenges she faced, she knew her God would vindicate her; she knew her God would rescue her; she knew her God would never forsake her or abandon her.

That showed up, not as anger, but as strength.

One time her daughter Beth and her best friend Molly lied to Lyn about going to a sleepover and instead went to a Halloween party. They came home covered in shaving cream. She made them hose themselves off.

I can hear her say, “I love you, but you’re not coming into my clean house looking like that. Grab the hose and clean yourself off.” They may have been living in upstate New York, but Beth and Molly quickly learned a Southern expression – “yes ma’am.”

So what would Lyn say to us if she were to leave us with her own parting words?  It would be that life is hard, but God is good. She would say life is unfair and you can never play the victim. God is faithful and even though you are surrounded by your enemies, there is still one greater who will not let you be moved.

That was her savior, Jesus Christ.

Tony Marciano is the executive director of the Charlotte Rescue Mission and a regular South Charlotte Weekly columnist. He is available to speak to your group. Call 704-334-4635, ext. 202 to schedule him.

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