Greatness Redefined, Part 2

Yesterday we ordained Juan Daniel Espitia as a minister of word and sacrament and installed him as associate pastor of Hispanic ministries at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church. Elders and pastors laid hands on him and prayed for him as he began this new chapter of ministry. Ordinations are a great reminder to us Presbyterians that call to ministry is important and the call is to serve the church like Jesus. [It was also a great reminder that street tacos and mariachis make for a great ordination party.]

Juan Daniel was the inspiration for my message on redefining greatness as servant leadership out of Mark 10:35-44. He loves people. He loves God. He shares the love of Jesus with anyone, anywhere.

I remember a few years ago seeing him sitting on a chair talking with the woman we built a house for in Mexico. He talked to her about Jesus. How do I know? Because every conversation gets there one way or another. He's always looking for an opportunity to serve, whether it's distributing food or making sandwiches for the day laborers or preaching the Word of God.

The most memorable time I had with Juan Daniel is when he wasn't even there. We were on a mission trip to Oaxaca to see our progress in our partnership with Floresta in economic, spiritual and environmental renewal projects. A portion of the trip included a bible program for children, recreation and crafts. As I walked over to the bible program, I heard the children singing and saw the leaders teaching the hand motions, but I couldn't figure out who was leading the song. The voice was so familiar. It sounded so much like Juan Daniel. But who was singing? It turns out it wasn't a live person, it was a tape. It was Juan Daniel. He recorded his voice leading the songs in his office in Solana Beach and sent the tape with our team.

I thought, that's Juan Daniel. He doesn't have to be seen or take the credit. He used his gifts to help make our trip a success. He served us without even being there! That's greatness in serving.


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