Gary Hoag: Brother Dominique: Usefulness

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

“Dominique learned he had inoperable cancer and asked permission to relocate from Saint-Rémy to Paris, where he had close family and relatives. In a move totally unsurprising to those of us who knew him, he took a job as a night watchman in a nearby factory, 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., the graveyard shift.

The story goes that as Dominique would travel home each morning following his shift, he would visit the park across the street from his house, an area filled with what society calls “the riffraff”: winos, the old and young and homeless, losers. My good friend traded in his old habit for a new one, that of passing out candy to the least of these, listening to their stories, and always leaving them with good news, words I’d heard a hundred times: “Jesus Christ is crazy about you. He loves you just as you are, not as you should be.”

One morning marked the end of Dominique’s graveyard shifts. Friends discovered his body on the floor of his flat. The cause of death was determined to be a heart attack. I believe, however, that Dominique died of just the opposite—his was a heart surrender. Here was a man who had surrendered, who had given pieces of his heart to others for a lifetime: a good word here, a gentle touch there, an encouragement always. Dominique’s journal was found with this final entry:

All that is not the love of God has no meaning for me. I can truthfully say that I have no interest in anything but the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. If God wants it to, my life will be useful through my word and witness. If He wants it to, my life will bear fruit through my prayers and sacrifices. But the usefulness of my life is His concern, not mine. It would be indecent of me to worry about that.”

Brother Dominique as recounted in All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir by Brennan Manning and John Blase (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2011) 105-107. Special thanks to my wife, Jenni, for sharing this one with me, and to James Hoxsworth, our pastor for sharing it with her.

On Monday mornings many people question the usefulness of their lives and their work. Some with poor health can feel like throwing in the towel. Whether or not that’s you, focus on the love of Christ today. Celebrate that you know Him and consider ways to make Him known generously to others with every ounce of energy that you have. The news that Jesus Christ loves you and me is not just good news, it’s the best news. Make it known through how you do your work today and every day and to all you touch along the way.

This article reposted with permission from: Generosity Monk

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