John Lennon, Julian Altrogge

3/06/2008

But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. - Mark 10:44-45

Yesterday my dad told you about two men, Heath Ledger and Jim Elliot. Today I'm going to tell you about two more men.

John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940. As one of the founding members of The Beatles, Lennon wrote songs that became anthems for an entire generation. Any event featuring The Beatles was a guaranteed to be a smash hit, and crowds filled stadiums to overflowing just to hear The Beatles in concert. He was adored by the masses, respected by millions, and considered to be an edgy, peace-loving activist. Shortly after Lennon was killed, approximately 100,000 people gathered in Central Park to mourn the death of their beloved singer. In 2002 he was voted number 8 on the "100 Greatest Britons" list, and Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him at number 38 on its list of "The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time". The Beatles were ranked number one on that list. John Lennon was great in the eyes of the world.

Julian Altrogge was born on November 11, 1918. He never wrote a hit song, never appeared on national television, and never gave any famous speeches. His claim to fame is that he wrote a small pamphlet on the subject of baseball that was given to several thousand Little Leaguers in the state of Oklahoma. Approximately ten years ago, my grandma, Jonalee, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's is a wicked disease that slowly destroys both the brain and the body, sucking the life and personality from its victim. Over the next five years my grandpa faithfully cared for my grandma as she descended into dementia. He took her on walks at the mall when she got antzy from her medication. He patiently had the same conversations with her over and over. When things got really bad he fed her, clothed her, and helped her stay clean. Finally, after five years of agonizing decline, my grandma went to be with Jesus.

But that didn't stop my grandpa from serving. For many years he visited a blind man every week, spending time with him and helping him take care of things around the house. Every year he paints hundreds (literally) of birthday cards by hand for members of our church. Many folks in our church have the cards mounted throughout their houses. He leads Bible studies at nursing homes and comes to church every single Sunday.

Everybody knows John Lennon, very few people know Julian Altrogge. Which one of these men is great in God's eyes?

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM  

5 comments:

I think the answer is easy. It's interesting to think also--If you'd spent a day with each of these men, which day would have left you a better person? Again, the answer is easy, even though I've never met any of the people involved.

Jim Swindle said...
March 6, 2008 at 12:30 PM  

Jim,

Excellent points. I wish we always had eyes to see true greatness when it is displayed.

March 6, 2008 at 12:45 PM  

My dad truly is a great man. I hope I can be like him someday.

Mark Altrogge said...
March 6, 2008 at 1:51 PM  

Seeing the two contrasted, allows your grandpa's example shine brilliantly. This is a stirring post.

March 6, 2008 at 2:19 PM  

Both...each one was (and is) recognized for the part they played. Granted, John Lennon was no Christian, but he was loved for what he did. Granddad Altrogge is loved for all the awesome tings he did.

Youngblood said...
March 6, 2008 at 3:32 PM  

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