Every week I’d go to Church, I’d walk through the same door and see the same face. There was Dave Wilsey…with a big smile on his face, a firm handshake, and always something positive to say. He is a tall strong guy and truly a man “without guile.” I served with him closely in the Church and so I had the opportunity to witness his character. It was in the youth program that we served together…and he left it all on the table for those young men. They have no idea…they’ll never have any idea. Whether it was at Philmont or at mutual, he never let his duties to those young men fall by the wayside no matter the difficulty. Sometimes he operated on little to no sleep because of his job. We went bowling for an activity one day, and he whopped us all. You could tell that he was athletic…and smart, and yet who would suspect it. He never talked about himself…and he never talked about others…the way so many of us do. Always a smile from him. A genuine smile that radiated the love of God. Maybe there is someone, somewhere that knows about a weakness of his…but for me…he is one of the greatest examples of Christlike leadership that I have ever seen. I never told him that.
But then one day…he wasn’t standing at the door. The word trickled down that he was in the hospital. Cancer. Other related maladies followed. It’s no secret in our city. Thousands of people are praying for him and for his family. I think all those people that pray for him, saw what I saw in him. He has the respect and love of so many people…and he never asked for it and never expected it. He just quietly earned it.
I believe that God respects first and foremost, the Dave Wilsey’s of the world.
You see…Dave has never served in what might be considered by some a “position of power” in the church or in the world. Some people will only serve others when they are compelled by what others might think of them. They sit in the shadows and wait to be served. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said that too many people either “seek to lead, or they seek to hide. They covet a crown or a cave.” They either have to be the top dog and receive the praise of man or they won’t serve at all. I’m continually amazed and uplifted at the people that quietly go around serving others without ever receiving a shred of worldly recognition.
Sometimes we need to be reminded that God isn’t going to ask us what callings we had in life…but if we magnified the callings that we did have. We need to be reminded that He’s not going to ask us how many successful businesses we built or how much money we made…but what we did with the money we did have. We forget, because of our own convoluted carnal brains, that our kids aren’t going to cherish the possessions we leave them when we go but the time and lessons we left in their hearts.
So many people go through life falling deeper and deeper into depression because every day that goes by represents one more day that they are not achieving their temporal desired status in life. There is never any peace or contentment just to serve and have no eyes upon you…no voices cheering your name. It may be in Church, at work, or at play.
Boyd K. Packer once remarked that, “there is the natural tendency to look at those who are sustained to presiding positions, to consider them to be higher and of more value in the Church or to their families than an ordinary member. Somehow we feel they are worth more to the Lord than are we. It just does not work that way!”
Do you really think that Helaman is going to get to heaven faster than Shiblon? Gordon Hinckley faster than Sherman Hinckley? Your local General authority faster than the introverted but faithful sunday school teacher? Does the charismatic world renowned evangelical Billy Graham approach the gates any faster than my faithful Christian friend John Rowa who serves the children in an all but unknown City Church in downtown Riverside? J. Reuben Clark Jr. said: “In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how.”
Do we really understand what is being taught when Peter declares that “God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34–35) He is not just talking about race, or background, or religion…but is referring even to the finer details of how we live our lives. What Peter meant was that “God doesn’t care about your titles, or your cars, or your clothes, or your real estate, or your perceived power. What He cares about is how you love and serve others. He cares about the condition of your heart.”
I don’t believe for one moment that Jesus Christ cared about receiving any credit for what He was doing. When glory came…He pointed up…and away from Himself. Then he got down and washed dirty feet. The Lord said that “whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:27).
For David Wilsey…his mortal organs may be failing him…but his heart, his being, his spiritual core will take him to the front of the line in the life to come. Whether it is sooner or later, the condition of his heart is what will gain the respect of his Savior and the people that have known him best in life. The condition of his heart/spirit has made him one of the chiefs among us…
There are many Dave Wilsey’s out there, male and female. They come and they go and are hard to find because most of them are behind the scenes quietly going about the Lord’s work.
The Lord recognizes and respects them…and so should we. Instead of being mesmerized by the popular…we should seek out these quiet servants, study them, and emulate them.