I was greeted this morning by an e-mail from Jonathan Andersen to the staff. After packing up his office, he said, he had left a few items behind, and we were welcome to take anything we wanted. Being the vulture I am, I rushed down the hall. Neatly arranged for our perusal (with the emphasis on “neatly,” of course; this is Jonathan Andersen we’re talking about) were some books, a couple of jars of candy, and a few other odds and ends, but after sniffing through it all, I was disappointed.
I thought maybe he would leave behind his perceptive vision or his remarkable, even preternatural, maturity, but no such luck. I scavenged the office for his intelligence (not that I would know what to do with it), but he apparently decided to take it with him, along with his ability to reflect practically and theologically on every challenge he faced. I looked for his humor, but it wasn’t there (not funny!). I rifled through drawers looking for his uncanny ability to organize and prioritize, but apparently cleaning out drawers and organizing the office for Natalee had been at the top of his to-do list.
Disgusted, I grabbed a fistful of candy and turned to leave. And that’s when I spotted it. Not his intelligence, not his insight or maturity or remarkable skills for ministry, but the gift that gives life to all of Jonathan’s gifts–God’s amazing grace. The gracious spirit that moves through everything Jonathan does–through every sermon and lesson, through every meeting and conversation and encounter–was all over that office.
And not just in the office. I found it in the worship center and Rooftop, in the Shed and children’s classes, in the hallways and narthex, and if you go down to Guatemala and Honduras, you’ll find it there. Apparently, he lavished grace wherever he went and, yes, he’ll still have plenty to share at Harvest Point.
Jonathan Andersen is a remarkable young man. He is gifted, talented, smart. But the truth is there are lots of talented, smart people out there. What makes Jonathan remarkable, what makes him a servant of God, is that he takes his gifts and intelligence (constantly honing and enhancing them) and uses them to pass along that which is free to us all–God’s grace–the love, mercy, care, compassion, and truth of Jesus Christ. He uses God’s gifts to share God’s gifts.
The grace that fills the heart of Jonathan Andersen, the grace that moved from Christ through all the people who touched Jonathan’s life and now moves through Jonathan to all the people he encounters–that grace can’t be packed up and moved; it can only be received and shared.
I am thankful for two years in this place with Jonathan. I have learned from him. I have enjoyed him. I love him and Emily, and I pray that God will guard them and bless them richly and abundantly with joy upon joy. Now there is only one thing left for you and me to do. Let’s take the grace Jonathan has shared so beautifully with us and, giving thanks, pass it on.