Some people make their impressions on you in unexpected ways. Their demeanor, their manner of speech, the troubles they have endured, their attitude or their approach to life can change your perspective or perception, and help you see life from a different point of view.
We often think of the great or near-great as the people who are the movers and shakers of our time. Though that is usually the case, we should not overlook the contributions of those people around us who have lived quiet, godly lives. They may not have led legions into battle or made some great scientific or legislative breakthrough, but the impact of a person firmly determined to follow God’s instructions should not be underestimated. What is rare usually has great value. How rare is it to encounter someone who is determined, above all else, to obey God?
These thoughts were triggered in my memory as I recalled a funeral I conducted a few years ago. The deceased was a dear lady from rural Mississippi. She lived to be in her 90s, and was a treasure trove of the history and culture of her time and place. She was widowed early in her life, and earned just a meager living working in factories. But, through it all, she remained an independent and productive person. In her old age, she lived in an apartment where her unmarried daughter cared for her. Declining health prevented her from attending Church services, but she would study her Bible, listen to recorded sermons and read all the booklets and magazines provided by the Church.
I always found visiting her to be a pleasure. In her soft, Southern accent, which hearkened back to another time and place, she would talk of her early life and her lifetime of experiences. And the conversation always came back around to God and His Kingdom—the focus of her life.
One day, the call came. The lady had died, and her daughter asked me to conduct the funeral. Her funeral service took place on a hot summer afternoon, the air heavy with humidity. Though fans were provided—the small church building in her little country town was not air conditioned—I am sure there was not a dry thread on anyone that day.
Just before we began the service, her daughter said she wanted to say a few words about her mother. After reading the obituary to begin the service, I called on her, and she stepped to the lectern. For a moment, she surveyed the small crowd of people gathered there. Then she said, “The thing that I remember most is that in her long life, Momma always did what she was supposed to do!” With that, she took her seat.
As I reflected on that brief eulogy, I realized that her words were a simple but powerful summation of her mother’s life.
The Bible gives us God’s perspective on such matters. For example, we read, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31). This elderly woman had no worldly riches, but will certainly inherit a crown of glory when Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom.
The Apostle Peter wrote movingly about true beauty: “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:2-4).
Similarly, Solomon was inspired to write, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
With God’s help, we too can be remembered with praise—if, like this dear lady, we strive throughout our lives to do what God expects us to do. How can we know what to do? To learn more about how to gain the blessings that come from living God’s way, read our booklet,
What Is a True Christian? And watch our Tomorrow’s World telecast, “The World’s Most Vital Need,” to catch the vision of God’s Kingdom that kept this dear lady focused on God and His way for her whole life.