My Aunt was physically immobile for several years and in pain every day. Nonetheless her sense of gratitude to the Lord for every blessing was one of her signature themes. She would say ‘Chris we need to be grateful for all that the Lord has given us, don't we?’ She continued my Nan's practice of praying for the wider family every day and we always knew that we were being remembered in prayer especially when the day was presenting a particular challenge. Both my grandmother and my aunt had a positive influence on my life and it was nice to remember both during the men’s group meeting.
Apart from the inspiration and encouragement that the examples above give us, as simple life stories, there is also something deeper about our relationships with God and the things that He wants us to do and be. I think that it inspires us to keep our faith simple - Jesus said that if we want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must come as little children; Matthew 18:2-4 ‘Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven’.
If we aspire to lead we must be the servant of all. Mark 9:35 ‘He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else’. For me it’s also a major lesson in ‘being before doing’. None of the women discussed above could have sustained their behaviour and actions unless they had a relationship with Jesus first. Their character and grace came from the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ within them, not formulae or programmes or even a natural tendency to do good works.
Most importantly we need to be who God wants us to be and to never underestimate or undervalue what this means to others around us, in the Kingdom of Heaven and to the Lord himself. The Old Testament in 1 Samuel 30:24 establishes that; ‘The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle’. The reward for whoever helps those directly involved in doing God's work will be the same as those directly involved; Matthew 10:41-42 ‘Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward’.
In the New Testament, we are told that the church resembles a body and everyone has different functions. We are also told that we should not despise our own role or the role of others because like the women above we cannot know the impact that we have on others or the massive significance that our lives may have in heavenly places. Our mission is to demonstrate the Lord's grace and wisdom to principalities and powers; Ephesians 3:10 ‘His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms’, and the Universe is watching on. So be encouraged and don't become weary in doing good; Mark 14:9 ‘Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her’. Amen.
Author: Chris Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life
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