Devotional – March 17, 2021

Pastor David’s devotional for March 17, 2021

I Thessalonians 4:9-10

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so even more.

March is Women’s history month.  As we continue our celebration of diversity, I am mindful of the many women in my life who have helped me to become the Christian I am today.  I have many stories.  I could speak about my Grandmother and my mother.  I could speak about members of our church: Linda, Donna, Phyllis, Brandy and so many others whose lives and faithfulness has touched my heart.  Today, I have Jean on my mind.

I first met Jean almost 30 years ago while serving Camp Verde UMC.  Jean was a member of the Southern Baptist Church, who started attending the church I served.  Upon introducing herself she said she was Baptist and that she had decided to attend our church because we “needed to know Jesus.”  At first, her statement seemed a bit arrogant.  How would she know about our relationships with the Lord?  But, once I got to know Jean, all that faded away.

Jean was a woman of profound faith, who had the gift of evangelism.  Maybe you have known someone who has that gift?  Jean could turn any conversation into a conversation about Jesus. Her calling—her ministry—was to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone she met.  So, no matter where she was, she wanted to talk about Jesus, and she wanted others to know the good news—that included Camp Verde UMC.

While Jean was a powerful woman of faith, she was also a woman who suffered greatly.  At age 39 her body started to become crippled because of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  By the time I met her, she had had over 30 surgeries, and struggled to walk and use her hands.  She suffered greatly, though you would never know it.  Rather than talking about the condition of her body, she talked about the condition of her faith and how much she loved the Lord.  It was a powerful witness, one that made a lasting impression upon me.  As I think about Jean today, I think of a woman with a profound faith in Jesus Christ who, because of the adversity she faced daily, had a powerful witness to the love of God.  Even now, her witness strengthens me as I face my own adversity.

As is the case with the saints, Jean’s time at Camp Verde UMC had a huge impact.  Her love for the Lord was a beacon of light shining throughout our community.  Of course, even as she was impacting us, we were impacting her life.  That is always what happens when Christians spend time together.  The many good, God loving Christians of the church helped Jean to experience a depth of Christian community that forever changed her life.

By now, Jean has likely passed on.  I picture her standing tall, healthy and strong, embraced by the arms of the One she loves.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.

God bless you, and I will see you in church soon.

Pastor Dave