It is our greatest privilege to be able to be used of God to bless and
minister grace to someone who is hurting and in need. Our words of love,
compassion and understanding are sometimes the only thing needed to
encourage someone to stand up and continue on. When there is no one else
to stand in the gap, we must take it upon ourselves to be that voice of
encouragement and let that one know that even though it is very dark right
now, the sun will shine again and the pain will cease. (James 1:22-27)
I hope this message encourages your heart to be that voice of encouragement
when you see someone who is hurting around you. The difference you can
make may only take you a moment, but the effects will last for all Eternity.
Leo smiled whenever he called himself a “diamond cutter.”
The statement, however, was literally correct. Leo pushed the lawn-mower
that tidied the baseball diamonds. He also cut and chalked football
gridirons and raked running tracks. However, cutting, chalking and raking
was only part of his responsibilities with our town's Parks Department. He
also planted and pruned trees and grew and transplanted flowers.
But the job he cherished above all was printing panels with the names of
local youngsters who entered military service.
Leo worked neatly and with a great eye for space. After all “Joe Jones” and
“Carmine Santodominguez” had to fit the same size panels on our civic honor
roll. Leo made every name readable.
Leo received the names of new inductees the same day the draft board
approved them. And these names were lettered and tacked into position
quickly and with the utmost care.
And, sadly, the same day the War Department released its Killed In Action
lists, Leo went to the honor roll and painted a gold star on the dead
service-person's panel -- between the heroes’s first and last names. Each
hand-painted star seemed identical in its size and brightness. Our downtown
honor roll was quietly beautiful and carefully maintained.
Leo moved down to Connecticut from Maine in the late 1930's and he seemed
to keep his job forever -- World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and,
just before he retired, the Gulf War.
It was more than a job. It was Leo's obsession. Leo's world.
While Leo cut the grass and tended the flora dispassionately, the Honor
Roll stirred him. He'd call the parents of each new recruit and tell them,
“Not to worry. God is on our side. And I will pray for your kid's safe
return.” To Leo, these young men and women were “kids” -- his kids. He
watched them grow and saw many of them compete in team sports on his grass
and cinders. And he watched them work in our hometown.
And on those days he painted gold stars, he'd visit his kids' homes and
shared their family's grief. He brought the ceremonial gold star flags to
their widows and parents who displayed them on their front door or in their
front window. Each badge of honor was softly spotted with Leo's own tears.
He also brought a white rose, which would eventually threaten his job security.
When Judson McComb, the Parks Commissioner, heard that some roses were
missing from the city's greenhouses, he discovered Leo was the culprit.
They confronted each other in a closed-door meeting in McComb's office.
The pot-bellied Commissioner and the wiry suntanned diamond cutter rarely
made eye-contact. Leo stared up at his boss's forehead and McComb stared
down at his desk pens.
“Who do you think you are, Robin Hood?” McComb asked.
“Who are you, Sir?”, Leo said politely, “the evil sheriff of Nottingham?”
McComb's bloated face reddened. “These roses are city property -- part of
our departmental budget. You can't steal them. We can't give a rose to
every family who loses a son or a husband in this war,” McComb said.
Leo responded, “We're civil servants, aren't we?”
McComb nodded yes.
“Well, what's more civil than giving one white rose to someone who's given
a son to protect us? If you and the mayor would visit these homes with me,
you might change your minds. After all, I present the rose from 'Your Parks
Department,' not from Leo Small.”
“OK, I see, Leo,” the commissioner whispered.
“You can call me Mister Small,” Leo said with a grin, extending his hand.
The commissioner shook Leo's hand and smiled. And the subject was never
Leo continued his daily routine -- cutting grass, planting flowers, pruning
trees, chalking and raking athletic fields and updating the honor roll.
The “boys” at Moon's Tavern had the same daily question. “What's new, Leo?”
Leo would say, “Danny Gardella just joined the Navy. Remember what a great
fullback he was? All state last year.”
After work one day, Leo was despondent. He told his buddies that Carl Paine
was killed in the Battle of the Bulge.
“Where's that?” Red Franklin asked.
“In Belgium, you nit-wit” Moon said. And the “boys” celebrated Red's memory
somberly, reverently and often.
“I'll be visiting the Franklin home tonight. Anybody care to join me?”
Throats cleared. Then silence.
Though Leo Small never married, he had thousands of kids, most of whom
When he finally retired, Leo was asked to run for Mayor. And, with his
personal following, he probably would have won. But he declined. He had
enough of politics just dealing with the Parks Commissioner.
While savoring his retirement, Leo still spent a lot of time at the
department's greenhouses. And he volunteered to update the reverence roll
like only he could -- neatly and with great love, talent and affection.
When our hometown paper interviewed him, Leo was asked why he still tended
the civic honor roll.
“It keeps me in touch with my kids. I know them by name -- all of them.”
By Ron Gold
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus declares, “You are the light of the world. A city
that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it
under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in
the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Philippians 2:3-7 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not
every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the
form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself
of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in
the likeness of men.”
Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that
is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;
but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure
John 13:12-15 “So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His
garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have
done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If
I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash
one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as
I have done to you.”
All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.
Today’s Selected Poem: ETERNAL INK
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/inpoem2.htm
Today’s Selected Testimony: HE WANTED ME
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony88.htm
In Christ’s Service,
God’s Work Ministry