“Useful to the End,” by George and Jane Campbell



An old woman with ponytailed gray hair, wrapped under a pink scarf, wearing a light blue blouse, orange skirt and brown clogs, smiles as she rides a bike with yellow green frame, with her white pet dog inside the brown basket in front of the bicycle

Friends and co-workers at a local McDonald’s in Hagerstown, MD, threw a surprise party for Harriet Clopper yesterday (December 21, 2015).  What made this incident newsworthy?  Well, according a McDonald’s executive she’s the best worker he’s got.  “She never misses a day of work.  She’s the first to arrive and the last to leave.  She works hard and is always pleasant. If I had a thousand Harriet Cloppers there’d be nothing we couldn’t accomplish,” he proclaimed.
Another reason Harriett’s birthday party made the news is because her birthday happens to fall on Christmas.  But McDonald’s celebrated it sooner to allow Harriett to travel to be with family over the holiday.
Yet the real reason for all the media coverage of Harriett’s birthday party, which Ronald McDonald himself attended, is that she turns 95 years old on Christmas.  This makes her the oldest employee in the McDonald’s 1.9 million-person workforce.
Yes, at 95 years old Harriett Clopper is still a bona fide employee of McDonald’s – and she didn’t begin working for the company until she was 75, making her a 20-year veteran.
What’s most heartening about this story is that Harriett still seeks to be gainfully employed, still seeks to be useful, and still seeks to be a blessing at a time when most people her age are in the grave.  Perhaps it is this very sense of usefulness and productiveness that helps keep her going.  She is too busy enjoying life – even with its responsibilities – to take it easy and simply wait for death.
Credit also belongs to McDonald’s which has the good sense to value people regardless of their age.
Of course, McDonald’s has nothing on God.  He’s got a purpose for us no matter how old or young we are.  God called Moses when he was 80 years old to take on the greatest leadership challenge in history – to deliver hundreds of thousands of slaves from bondage, lead them across a merciless desert, and forge them into a nation.  And today, Moses is recognized as the greatest leader in biblical history.
The fact is that, in God’s eyes, our value only increases with age.
For God knows it takes a life-time to cultivate the most important of godly virtues – faith, hope, and love – virtues which our popular culture dismisses but God highly prizes.  The Scripture says, “But the godly shall flourish like palm trees and grow tall as the cedars of Lebanon.  For they are transplanted into the Lord’s own garden and are
under his personal care.   Even in old age they will still produce fruit
and be vital and green” (Psalm 92:12-14, Living Bible).

PRAYER:  Dear Father in heaven, help me to realize that You have many more chapters in my life’s novel and that, no matter how old I am,  I must continue to develop in myself those virtues which make me more useful to You and others.  Amen.

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