I just returned from the funeral of an 87 year-old beautiful princess of God.
She was a quiet, unassuming woman with a beautiful smile. Her death did not make the headlines. As her pastor said at her funeral, the world would not build a monument to her. She had not lived in the community for seven years due to a stroke she had suffered. She had never been able to live on her own again and had to move into a nursing facility 30 miles away from home. Yet, her funeral was packed. I had trouble finding a place to park.
This woman never liked the spotlight to be on her. She had been in hospice over the past few months and had told her pastor not to talk about her at her funeral. He laughed and told her that would be rather hard to do since it would be her funeral. Well, okay. He could talk about her a little bit if he had to but she wanted him to talk about God a whole lot more.
During the funeral, a man in his early 70's came to the podium to speak about her. We learned that she had been his first teacher at church. Later, when he reached his teens, she was the leader of the youth group. When he fell on his knees before the Lord one evening at church, she came right beside, prayed and rejoiced as she witnessed his becoming a new creature in Christ. At one time he even served as her pastor.
Although she did sometimes have to be in the spotlight, she only did so because God required it of her. She preferred to work behind the scenes. You could always find her in a kitchen serving others. She would send people cards of encouragement. She baked banana bread and sent it off to college students who were far from home. She always had a kind word for everyone and she was one who kept her hands busy for God. No job was beneath her and no job was too small. She was always willing to do what no one else wanted to do and did it with a smile.
Once she drove up to a camp for children which I was directing. She didn't have any children at the camp. She never had any children of her own and was widowed while she was in her early forties. She had just seen a lovely plaque at a Christian bookstore the week before and she thought of me. She purchased it, carefully wrapped it and made a special trip to just quietly tell me thank you for taking the time to minister to children. Needless to say, I was greatly moved.
I'm afraid that most of the time I do not have a quiet and gentle spirit. I have spirit but far too often it is loud and opinionated. To put it mildly, people usually know if I'm in the vicinity. Don't get me wrong. We do need people who are comfortable with getting up in front of people. We do need people who are expressive. God made us all very different for a reason. We each have our purpose and are specially designed to do the jobs God has in mind for us. However, I also need to acknowledge that sometimes in my well-meaning zeal, I try to run way ahead of God. Sometimes in my zeal I speak when I should listen. I make noise when I should be quiet. I jump to conclusions and miss the mark because I moved to quickly.
Lord, help me to remember that it is all about you; not me. Help me to listen better and speak less. Help me to listen and respond through the filter of the Holy Spirit. Give me greater empathy and help me to remember that gentleness is also a fruit of the Spirit.
A testimony of true humility in service. Oh there were more servants with this type of quiet and gentle spirit in our times; but alas, they are few and far between.
Most people want a huge tombstone telling the world all they did. Most people want a eulogy laden with exaggerated claims of grand things done. Most people want to be remembered for all they accomplished in life. As for me; I simply want to do my job here on earth and when I appear before the Master, have Him say--"well done, good and faithful servant".
Thanks for the reminder.
What a beautiful testimony of humility and a gentle and quiet spirit. God has been confronting me with the way I act and if I am being gentle or if I am being harsh. I think your blog showed me what God has been trying to get me to realize for a little while now!! Thanks sister!