A Time to Weep and a Time to Laugh
Monday, April 09, 2012
Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 4
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance...
In the space of 4 days, two loved ones in our church entered into the joy of their Lord! What a time to weep and yet, a time to rejoice. Both were elderly people and both had served the Lord faithfully for more than 40 years. They were dear friends, who had served together in the same ministry, and both had a deep burden for souls, especially the souls of children. Both were also founding members of our church. ...And both loved to laugh, by the way. :-)
This has been a very hard week for our church family, to say the least. While, in many ways we were not surprised to lose Velma, who was 94, I can truly say that none of us expected to lose George just 4 days later, even though he was nearly 91.
But what a blessed hope to know that they are now whole again and enjoying their rest in the presence of our Lord and Savior. I find comfort in knowing that they are both also reunited with their spouses, George's son who died in childhood, and many others who have died in the Lord. Maybe they will get to know my father, who passed away last May. Dad and Velma would hit it off, having had many of the same interests. :-)
If you think of us in the days to come, please pray for their families, our church, and the ministry they leave behind...maybe the ministry especially, that God will continue to bless and use it. This ministry was started by George and his wife, Laura in the 1960s, right here in South Georgia. Maybe some of my friends have heard of it. It is called The Mailbox Club. It is a ministry of Bible correspondence lessons, started on George and Laura's kitchen table. It has now grown into a world-wide ministry. God had used it in such a mighty way, that it boggles my mind! These lessons have been used here at home, and around the world. The lessons have been used by other ministries such as Child Evangelism Fellowship International, Source of Light Ministries International, and by Samaritan's Purse / Operation Christmas Child's shoebox distributions. They have been used as tools in evangelism, as well as discipleship for new believers.
I want to assure you that, amid the tears, we celebrated both their lives, with some of their favorite hymns, stories from their lives, etc. We heard friends and family relate how they loved the work the Lord had given them to do, how they didn't care who got then credit, how they did everything by hand back when they first got started and for many years. I have known for years that George wrote the lessons. But I just learned that George used to type the lessons on adding machine tape because the tape was the same width that the columns would be in the final product. I also just learned that Velma would count out every letter, character and space, so that she could manually justify those columns. What a labor of love!
And we gave glory to God for what He had done in them and through them! They loved family, friends, fellow believers, the lost...They loved Him. They wanted Him to be glorified. I believe He WAS glorified through their lives and their work. And I believe they each heard Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
I count it a joy and privilege, not only to have known, fellowshipped, laughed, and worshiped with these loving, godly people, but also to have had a tiny part in their ministry and their lives. They will be missed!