When I was nineteen years old I regularly attended a Christian youth rally called Youthtime, in downtown Buffalo, New York. It involved inspiring gospel music, thoughtful testimonies, and a challenging message from the Bible. On the way home one evening I felt convicted about not telling others about Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins. I cared about my family members and knew that they deserved to hear the good news.
When I arrived home my mother recognized that I was downcast and asked me what was the matter. I told her that I was discouraged because I wasn’t a good witness of Christ to her and dad. I spoke to her of Christ’s death on her behalf and how a person could become a child of God. Mom didn’t place her faith in Christ that night but did a few months later when she started attending church.
Many years later my sister, Jane, told me something that stunned me. She said that the night I was sharing with mom she was listening, unknown to me or mom. She quietly slipped upstairs and prayed, inviting Jesus Christ to be her Lord and Savior. That faith in Christ sustained her for the rest of her life. Amid my weakness the Holy Spirit was doing something beyond my comprehension.
A week ago, Jane entered the presence of the Lord. She was just shy of eighty years old and was known by family and friends as someone who was in love with Jesus and a person who loved others. Her husband, Lyle, had died over fifteen years earlier so she lived alone as a widow in a small town in central Florida. I knew that she was always serving others, giving rides to the airport, taking someone for a doctor’s appointment, singing in the church choir, etc. She always had a contagious smile on her face and a word of encouragement or praise to the Lord.
Because I live in Arizona, Winnie and I were not able to attend Jane’s memorial service, but we did watch it on online through Facebook. Both of us were blessed to hear countless numbers of people share the various ways that my remarkable sister had touched their lives through humble loving care.
Thinking about Jane has left me with a variety of feelings and thoughts. First, I am humbled to know that my Lord allowed me to point my sister to a lifelong walk with Jesus Christ. That he would use me when I was so aware of my own weakness and inadequacy is very humbling. I still feel a sense of awe at what the Lord did in my weakness.
Second, I realize that our Lord is often doing something significant without our awareness. We may be sowing seeds that will germinate by his doing and we don’t know it. But we can dare to believe that what we lovingly offer to others will bear fruit. We may not know it until we go to be with him. Heaven will have a lot of surprises.
Third, listening to the many people speak of how deeply Jane had influenced their lives reminded me of the privilege of being an ambassador of Christ. What a privilege to share his passion for other, to serve them in the common duties of the day and to radiate his peace and joy in a world of darkness and hopelessness. We have the glorious privilege of being his hands, feet and voice.
Fourth, I was reminded of the importance of leaving a legacy to those who follow us. What am I contributing to encourage, strengthen and guide others in their daily walk? What am I investing that will pass on into eternity? Am I making wise investments of my time, my talents, and my resources?
“Only one life, twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Who will be listening today?