Aunt Madge was an elementary school teacher who taught in both public and Christian schools. She also sang in the choir, taught Sunday School and Disciple Training. She served on the Board of Trustees at Campbell University for four years, as well, and the General Board of the Baptist State Convention.
Aunt Madge not only reared her own four children in her small home, but also invited in many others over the years for various periods of time. If you needed comfort, encouragement, or help, Aunt Madge was the person to see. “Mom”, as she was called by her young visitors, encouraged many young men to become Ministers of the Gospel in that small home.
I laughed heartedly as one of those young men, who is now a minister, told the story of how he and some other boys plotted to get “mom” to say something bad about someone in the church. They bet each other five dollars to make sure their commitment to this effort was sincere. Each boy offered up his true story about the misdeeds of someone in their church. Aunt Madge would agree that the people were wrong in what they did, but then she would go on to explain that person’s situation and how the love of Christ should be ministered to him or her. Obviously, none of the boys won that bet and left with the profound feeling that they should have prayed for these people all along.
This minister also told us about his trip to the Philippines. He had brought along his new expensive camera to make pictures of the trip. In a short time he lost his camera and decided that someone had stolen it. When he returned home, he laid out all his theories and disappointments concerning his lost camera to Aunt Madge. To make a long story short: By the time he left Aunt Madge’s house he felt like he had ministered to the people of the Philippines by losing that camera there.
There were other stories and many wonderful things said at the service about Aunt Madge. As I listened to the sincere comments about my Aunt, I could not help but think how far behind I am in committed service to the God my Aunt loved. I thought about my own funeral sometime in the future and about what people would say about my service to God and what God had accomplished through my life.
I’m not saying Aunt Madge was perfect. None of us are until we are glorified in His kingdom. We do not all have the same calling in our lives and work. Yet, even in the small things – we have the opportunity to glorify our God. What will people say at your funeral about you and the life you lived?
Honestly, I think my Aunt would have been embarrassed by the words of praise bestowed upon her memory. She, however, sought the affirmation of only One when she entered the gates of Heaven: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21 ESV) What will God say to you?