Yesterday I met The Muffin Man.
His name is George.
George is 75 years old. He describes himself as “a bald man with big ears.”
George is a greeter at his church. I know because I am greeted by George when I arrive early for my performance.
I have been “greeted” by many church greeters in a lot of different churches over the years, but rarely one as memorable is George.
George really loves people. Being a greeter is not just a duty that he does every Sunday. It is almost as if he lives for it. And the people he greets seem to need George.
Between hugs of the people entering the church, George engages me in conversation. He is intrigued with the pictures of kids I am placing on the table for sponsorship with World Vision.
“Oh, I am so glad you are doing that!” he says. “I sponsor kids too! Everybody needs to do that!”
George is not a wealthy man. However, he is one of the few people actually wearing a suit.
“This suit is 10 years old. I only wear it on Sunday. My momma would thump me on the nose and instill in me that you wear your best clothes when you go to church… so I always have.”
George then turns away for a moment to give a big bear hug to a person I am certain is homeless…or at least dresses the part. I know in an instant that while he is wearing a suit, he couldn’t care less what the others attending the church are wearing.
George turns back to me and says, “So tell me about yourself.” He isn’t just making conversation, he really wants to know. So I tell him a little about me. He listens.
He tells me a bit more about himself. He is a widower for 15 years now. He loves Jesus. He says, “I don’t have a lot of money, but I am rich.”
George doesn’t go to Sunday School like the rest of the people arriving early. He says he needs to be here to greet people when they arrive. “On the rare occasions that I do go, I go to the children’s Sunday School. I hand out gold coins.” He jingles the coins in his pocket and pulls out a $1 gold coin and gives it to me. This is not a wealthy church, and George delights in small acts of charity.
“They used to call me ‘The Muffin Man.’ I used to make dozens of muffins every week and give them away. I had to stop; I couldn’t afford to do it anymore. I added it up and realized I had spent over $6,000 making muffins to give away to people.”
So now he gives away $1 gold coins. It’s more economical for him.
“Every day I get up and tell God, ‘I’m here for you. Use me. Put people in my path you want me to help.’ And He does.”
George then tells me a story from the other day when he went for a walk and engaged a stranger in conversation on a park bench. They shared stories and he ended up giving the person money that turned out to be the exact amount they needed to meet an immediate need. (He is quick to point out that he is not sharing this to boast, he just wants to show me how he believes God guides his path.) Oh did I mention—George is not a wealthy man?
People often ask me about how I get “fed” spiritually. I am out performing most weekends. I don’t get to attend church in the way that most church-going people do. But sometimes I get to experience a sermon in a unique way. Meeting George I am reminded of this quote from St. Francis of Assisi:
“Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”
George is my sermon this Sunday. As I leave the church I find myself humming a tune, not a worship tune but a nursery rhyme:
Oh, yes, I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Oh, yes, I know the muffin man,
That lives on Drury Lane.
For some reason it feels right. It almost feels like I met Jesus this morning…The Muffin Man.