romans 12:15


The longer my husband and I work in ministry, the more I learn what ministry is all about.

Sunday morning as I sat in my usual seat on the second pew on the left side, my mind couldn't help but think of what a church family was all about.

Right behind me over my left shoulder was Fannie, whose sister's husband had just died the day before. I would look over at Fannie and I'd see small but meaningful tears flowing down her cheeks. I hugged Fannie's neck when I had come in to the sanctuary on Sunday morning, and she said that Gale, her sister, just kept asking those tough "what if" questions about her husband's death. My heart broke.

In front of me in the choir sat Mrs. Robena, whom you've heard me talk about before. Mrs. Robena was celebrating her 80th birthday this week. Her daughter (who is also our church pianist), Bernice, had asked everyone to surprise her by mailing her birthday cards. Bernice wanted her sweet mom to receive 80 cards for her 80th birthday in the mail. I got word tonight that Mrs. Robena got 95 cards in the mail this week.

Behind me to my right sat Mrs. Ruth, who is absolutely the most "go-getter" of an 84-year-old that I've ever known. Mrs. Ruth fell (running to the phone, I might add) a few weeks ago and broke her collarbone and a couple of ribs. Mrs. Ruth was glowing because she was able to come back to church for the first time in several Sundays. Mrs. Ruth has never looked so cute in her fire orange fitted hat from Germany-- a souvenir she bought on a trip with her husband many years ago. Mrs. Ruth proudly told me she'd felt well enough to sit at the kitchen table and continue writing her memoirs this past week.

And then after church, I was observing Bro. Tuck, an 87-year-old widower in our church, and his best friend, Mrs. Martha, who is a widow herself. Bro. Tuck and his deceased wife and Mrs. Martha and her deceased husband were all best friends before the Lord took Mrs. Tucker and Mr. Bishop home. Now, Bro. Tuck lovingly and carefully takes care of Mrs. Martha by bringing her to church and saving her seats at church fellowships. I'll never forget Bro. Tuck saving Mrs. Martha a seat at the Fall Festival, and when she asked him if the seat was saved for anyone, he replied, "Yes, it's saved for the most beautiful woman in the world, so I guess that means it's yours!" My heart is overjoyed.

And all those sweet people (and many more) help me to realize what church is all about.

I weep with those who weep. I weep with Gale, who is missing her husband tonight even as I type. I weep with Fannie, who weeps because she can't not cry when she thinks about her sister hurting. I weep with others in our church who have grandchildren battling cancer and estranged spouses and court battles over custody of their children. I weep with all of them.

And I rejoice with those who rejoice. I rejoice with Mrs. Robena, as she celebrates 80 years of life and many, many years of devotion to Sunnyside Baptist Church and to the Lord. I celebrate with energetic Mrs. Ruth who is so excited about just getting to come back to church that she can't contain her laughter. I rejoice with Bro. Tuck and Mrs. Martha as the Lord has given them each other (in a very special, different kind of way) to finish their lives here on earth together. I rejoice with them.

Romans 12:15 says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep."And this past Sunday, I was able to live out just one more truth about the family of God: we're all in this together. Of course I hurt when Fannie hurts-- we are a part of the same body.

The people at Sunnyside Baptist Church are my family. I love them so much, and our love is different from the love that comes from DNA or heredity. Our love comes from a different kind of DNA-- the blood of Christ. I praise God for His creation of the family of Himself. Praise God that we get to live life together. Praise God that He doesn't require us to live the Christian life alone. Praise God that He cares enough for us to put people in our lives to comfort us.

Praise God that we can rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Praise God. Thank you, Jesus.

1 comment:

  1. Love this, and it is so true! I never truly understood "ministry" and the beauty of the body of Christ until I married a minister.

    Oh, and I sit on the 2nd pew on the left side too :) HA!!