Mike is a leader in our church that I have come to deeply appreciate over the years. I can't tell you his whole story, but suffice it to say that he was caught in the middle of a holy war many years ago. Before the skirmish between two strong leaders was over, he was treated as collateral damage and trampled on the battlefield of their pride. Sometimes people are wounded in church because of their own sins. Mike was wounded and left for dead because he refused to choose one leader over the other.
For a number of years -- after he arrived at Stone Ridge -- he sat silently in church services. His previous pain (and that of his family) was so acute that he dared not open himself to anything that might yank their emotional scabs off. I barely knew who he was. Finally I had a chance to sit down and get acquainted with Mike and his wife. That must have been over fifteen years ago.
Gradually, this wonderful, godly couple began to serve in our church. Mike's wife has a gift of hospitality and the knack for creating beautiful things with her hands. Mike is full of wisdom, knowledgeable in Scriptures and a very good leader. They serve faithfully. Selflessly.
Last Friday as I tried to navigate the land mines on the battlefield I had been summoned to, I received an email from Mike...
"I heard. I'm praying. How else can I help?"
He has a leadership position that drew him to the struggle. But he easily and justifiably could have sat this one out.
Instead, he chose to serve. He voluntarily took a role on the front lines.
This time Mike is helping protect someone else (not me) from going through what he went through so long ago.
Mike would never count himself as a hero of the faith.
But he is to me.