By Dr. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
January 13, 2021
Harry Lloyd Hopkins was one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s closest advisors. Hopkins wore several hats in service to his country, but he is best known for dealing with most anything which concerned the President.
One day Wendell Wilkie, who was the Republican nominee and ran against Roosevelt for the presidency in 1940, asked Roosevelt in the Oval Office why he kept Hopkins, who was not an impressive figure, at his elbow. The President responded, “Mr. Wilkie, through that door flows an incessant stream of men and women who, almost invariably, want something from me. Harry Hopkins wants only to serve me. That’s why he is so near me!”
That’s the way I feel about John de Rosset, who has been my Administrative Assistant for approximately 13 years. Not that I wouldn’t have welcomed it, but it is no exaggeration to say that John has never made any significant personal or professional request of me during his tenure. His unwavering and paramount commitment has always been to serve me. He has indeed been, in every sense of the word, my loyal and selfless servant.
John has been so much more than a professional subordinate; he has become one of my closest friends and advisors over the years. Recently, I bought a small refrigerator magnet to give to him. On the magnet, it says, “You and I will always be best friends because you know too much.”
John has been with me through thick and thin, the good and the bad, times of elation and victory, times of discouragement and defeat. His eternal optimism, an optimism which I have thought at times almost betrays reality, has lifted me out of the doldrums of disappointment more times than I care to mention. His entire demeanor can be much like a salve for soreness of the soul. I have never known anyone like him, nor do I think I ever will.
The By-Laws of the Christian Action League provide me with full authority for hiring staff. I offered John the position of Administrative Assistant during a period of great internal challenges for the League. I believed what was needed more than anything else at the time was an individual of impeccable integrity. I knew John as a parishioner from one of my previous pastorates to be just such an individual – a person of firm Christian convictions with a clean testimony of life to match those convictions.
John has characteristically run the office of the Christian Action League with both efficiency and grace. Through the years, he has also handled my calendar. My travels, as representative of the League, have led me to speak in churches in nearly every county. Over and again, pastors and other church staff from everywhere across North Carolina ask me about John. His courteous manner has touched them in ways that only can be explained by the man’s walk in the Holy Spirit. People will say to me, “I know you are glad to have John on your staff. I’ve never met him personally, but just talking with him over the phone gives me the impression he’s a great guy, and you’re fortunate to have him.” To which I have always heartedly agreed.
John is not the kind of person you see out front. He prefers the background. His life and service to Christ through the League reminds me of the story about a reporter who once asked the famous orchestra conductor, Leonard Bernstein, what was the most difficult instrument to play. Bernstein said, “Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet, if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”
How true! One of the noblest of roles in life, a part indispensable to a business or church ministry’s success, is that of the unsung hero who faithfully carries out his work without complaining, who often makes sacrifices to find joy in the success of another person or group, and through it all insists on remaining in the shadows. Every step of the way, this is an apt description of my Administrative Assistant and friend, John de Rosset.
Friday, January 22nd, will be John’s last day with the League. He will now spend a lot more time with his wonderful wife, Kathy, who has also made her own sacrifices supporting her husband’s work.
Every day we get closer to the day of John’s departure, I get a bit misty-eyed. I’m looking forward to forging a new relationship with another Administrative Assistance, which the League will announce soon. Nevertheless, I am confident that I will miss John in ways that I have yet to discern.
I regret that this tribute to John’s person and service hardly does him justice. My only consolation is that the day is coming when he will go to an abundant reward and hear those coveted words of our Savior, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
From myself, the Board of Directors, and the Christian Action League’s supporting churches, thank you, John. Thank you so much!
If you would like to send a note of thanks to John, write to him at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. It will do him good to hear from you.