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Gratitude for Gene Lesesne, God’s Humble Servant

Gene Lesesne Wassail Bowl

Gene Lesesne (center) volunteering in the kitchen with family members during the 2017 Wassail Bowl

Along with the several verses of Scripture listed below, the following served as Marnie Kerrison’s devotional before the November ECW (Every Church Woman) board meeting last week.

If you were at the last ECW meeting in October, you may have heard me mention off the cuff that if we were to lose Gene Lesesne, the Tea Room could not go on. Gene is 82 years old, rides his bike almost daily 20 miles, was a Naval aviator, and flew for Pan Am Airlines as a commercial pilot until he went to teach at the Citadel in the PE department. He was married to Anne, who was a nurse instructor at Trident Tech until she was disabled by rheumatoid arthritis. He was her caregiver until her death just about five years ago. He has two daughters: Angela Clark, who runs the preschool with Lee Moore here at St. Philip’s, and Jessica, who attends and volunteered here as a Sunday school teacher for years. His first great-grand was recently baptized here. I do not know how long the Lesesne family has been attending St. Philip’s, but I know they have a legacy of serving quietly. They have been responsible for the Wassail Bowl celebration every year for as long as I remember. 

Well, as you all may know, last week Gene was volunteering at the polls in same ol’ Gene Lesesne fashion, and he passed out, was given CPR, and was sent by ambulance to MUSC, where they were able to open his chest up and wrap the aorta to stop the bleeding from an aortic dissection. Essentially he was bleeding inside his body. God provided someone at the polls who could sustain Gene’s blood flow until help could arrive. No question the fact that he is still on this side of eternity is a miracle. My own nephew at 24 died from the exact thing, only no one was around to help him. I confidently believe that Gene was not ordained to die last Tuesday. The Lord said to death, “NOT today!” I see it also as God’s mercy to us as a church, because now we have the opportunity to thank Gene and not just eulogize him. And also we are forced to forge ahead without the benefit of Gene’s being there to fill all the shoes and roles he does during his recovery. We have time now to PRAISE God while we acknowledge Gene’s quiet servant ministry to St. Philip’s and to recognize that Gene and others with servant hearts in our church will not always be here to do all the things they do. I have had the privilege of serving beside this very quiet, humble, and generous man for about 10 years. He probably does the work of 12 people during Tea Room:

  1. Washes the dishes all day along with a few helpers
  2. Cooks the biscuits and chicken breasts
  3. Makes all the whipped cream for the dessert room
  4. Chops eggs, chicken, and onions for Connie
  5. Fixes the sanitizer and troubleshoots all the equipment in the kitchen
  6. Makes all the coffee (orders the coffee for the church coffee room too)
  7. Mops the kitchen at the end of the day
  8. Brings a dessert Monday
  9. Brings a dessert Tuesday
  10. Brings a dessert Wednesday
  11. Brings a dessert Thursday
  12. Brings a dessert Friday

Additionally, I know he was Water Mission’s very first volunteer, and he’s volunteered there for 18 years building the filtration units. He frequently serves as a crucifer at funerals, helps hang all the outside garland and bows during the greening of the church, often cooks for the breakfasts we have had, and goes to Honduras to serve with a group from St. Philip’s. It is embarrassing to me almost to account for all Gene Lesesne contributes to our church. And those are just the things I know about. I am sure he gives financially as well. It comforts and inspires me to see someone living out his faith serving Jesus and loving HIS church so well. May we all strive to live like Gene, who is witnessing to us a God who loves us and suffered for us. A God who held nothing back. 

So then, my dear friends, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

So then, obey the commands that I have given you today; love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart. (Deuteronomy 11:13)

Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honor anyone who serves me. (John 12:26)

With all my heart I try to serve you; keep me from disobeying your commandments. (Psalm 119:10)

Obey the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Remember the great things he has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what he has kept for his people. For Christ is the real Master you serve. (Colossians 3:23-24)

So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. (Romans 12:1)

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength for my work. I thank him for considering me worthy and appointing me to serve him (1 Timothy 1:12)

Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. (Romans 12:11)

Praise the Lord! You servants of the Lord, praise his name! (Psalm 113:1)