One of William Barclay's friends tells this story. In the church where he worshiped, there was a lonely old man, old Thomas. He had outlived all his friends and hardly anyone knew him. When Thomas died, this friend had the feeling there would be no one to go to the funeral, so he decided to go so there might be someone to follow the old man to his last resting place.

There was no one else, and it was a miserable wet day. The funeral procession reached the cemetery, and at the gate there was a soldier waiting, an officer. On his raincoat there were no rank badges. He came to the graveside for the ceremony, then when it was ended he stepped forward and before the open grave swept his hand to a salute that might have been given to a king. The friend walked away with this soldier, and as they walked, the wind blew the soldier's raincoat open to reveal the shoulder badges of a brigadier general.

The general said, "You will perhaps be wondering what I am doing here. Years ago, Thomas was my Sunday School teacher. I was a wild lad and a sore trial to him. He never knew what he did for me, but I owe everything I am or will be to old Thomas. Today I had to come to salute him at the end." Thomas did not know what he was doing.
No preacher or teacher ever does. Keep sowing the seed. We can leave the rest to God. (David E. Leininger, Collected Sermons,

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