I want to introduce you to two unfamiliar heroes: Arthur Schiefelbein and George Lang, a merchant and a molder. In 1926 they were witnesses for an immigrant named John Zeppos. John was petitioning for US citizenship and they testified that Mr. Zeppos was a person of character and should become a citizen. Mr. Zeppos signed the document with an X.
90 years later, in 2016, John Zeppos’s grandson, Nicholas Zeppos delivered the graduation speech to the 2,900 students at Vanderbilt University. Nicholas Zeppos is the Chancellor of Vanderbilt. In his speech, Chancellor Zeppos said these words:
"If not for Schiefelbein and Lang, I would not likely now be the Chancellor of Vanderbilt. I finally came to realize that I am here because I am educated. And I don’t simply mean ‘here’ today as your chancellor and as a professor at Vanderbilt. I mean ‘here’ today unburdened from worry about the basic necessities of life, able to educate my children, to have good health care, to drink clean water, unafraid to vote, free to experience a broader, more diverse world.”
A random act of kindness from friends impacted the lives of future generations. Sometimes we never know the importance of something we do on the lives of others. As Jesus told his disciples in the parable of the sower, we plant seeds. We don’t know what will happen and we often don’t see the fruit, but we don’t do it for the reward; we do it because our faith calls us to reach out to others.
Zeppos concludes, “Do whatever you can to lift others up. Who knows? Someday you may do nothing more than affix your name to a document in support of someone who needs your help. And while it may take eight decades, someone, someday, may just become a college president out of this act of kindness and generosity.” (Vanderbilt magazine, Summer 2016)
Planting seeds of faith. That’s what we are about as Christians. Someday, who knows what it will produce?
Posted on Wed, September 21, 2016
by Micah James