Summary: Funeral sermon for Frank W. Jackson, Sr., former church sexton (janitor) and van driver.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in

the tents of wickedness.


Frank Jackson was the very soul of dependability. If he was

to be at a certain place at a given time, he was there. He

was on time at the door, ready to go to work. I have never

seen a man who could time his arrival so perfectly. The

workday here began at 8:00 a.m.; his Buick would be pulling

up at 7:59 and certainly not 8:01. Utterly dependable.

Always on time at the door. At precisely 8:00 a.m., he would

be at the door of my office, waving at me, and saying, “All

right, Rev. Smith. All right!” On time at the door.

The doors of this place, this house of the Lord, were very

much his to attend. For twelve years he served this church

as its sexton, or janitor. Sexton or janitor, call it what you

will, the Bible calls that work doorkeeping. Caring for the

place of worship. For twelve years he served as our

doorkeeper, absolutely faithful, completely trustworthy, the

very soul of dependability. How else do you describe a man

who in all those years used not one day of sick leave? What

else can you say about a man who, if you asked him to do

something, never wrote it on a list, never said, “I’ll get to it

someday”, never had to say, “I forgot”, but just got it done?

What else can we say except that he was thoroughly

dependable; he was on time at the door.

When Mr. Jackson was working as our doorkeeper, there

was one little extra duty that we enlisted him for, and that

was to take out the church van and pick up some of the

guests who come for our Wednesday Club ministry. For

those not connected with our church, Wednesday Club is a

service we have provided for over thirty years for recovering

mental patients; it offers recreation, arts and crafts, a good

meal, and just time away from the hospital or the group

home. Some come on a bus from St. Elizabeths Hospital,

but others must be transported from group homes. Mr.

Jackson drove our church van to pick up and then deliver

home some of our guests. In all the years he did that, I do

not remember any occasion when he was late or when he

missed picking up somebody. He would make sure to get to

the group homes on time, because he knew that some of

the people would be upset if their ride was not there. And he

would take them back after Wednesday Club, making sure

they got home safely. We never had to send anybody along

to supervise Mr. Jackson when he drove for Wednesday

Club; he just knew the needs of our guests and took good

care of them. He was always on time at the door.

After Mr. Jackson retired from our staff, we began an after-

school program for children, offering tutoring and a safe

place. We had children enrolling from three or four local

elementary schools, most of them too far away for the

children to walk here. And so again we enlisted Frank

Jackson to be our van driver. Imagine, now: for the princely

sum of $40.00 a week, five days a week, September through

June, throughout the school year, this man left his home, in

all kinds of weather, came up here, fired up the van, and

drove it around to several schools, picking up children. He

did not do it for the money, which was minimal anyway (and

we’ve since found out that he didn’t even cash some of the

checks!). He did it for love of the children; he did it for love

of the house of the Lord; and he did it, knowing that he had

to be on time at the door. We never worried about that.

Frank Jackson was always on time at the door.


Now you know there are people who are on time because

they have to be, and then there are people who are on time

because it is a matter of integrity. There are people who get

to the door on time because if they don’t, their pay will be

docked or they will miss the flight or there will be some

penalty to pay. They are on time because somebody forces

them to be on time, or else they pay a price.

But there are others who are on time at the door because it

is a matter of integrity, a question of honor. There are others

who do what they do, not because the boss orders them or

because they are pushed into it, but they do it because

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Walter Rehberg

commented on Dec 20, 2006

Creative and original, yet delivers a strong biblical message.

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