Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: And God Was Pleased!
By Leola Ogle
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James and Beth are pillars of a bygone era before computers, cell phones, and modern technology brought the world the gospel via satellite television and the internet. Neither had ever used a computer or cell phone, and didn’t care to. Yet they were extremely organized and efficient without these modern marvels.
They had devoted their entire lives to ministry. They’d been directors at a faith-based ministry that helped drug addicts, alcoholics, and the homeless. They also did jail and prison ministry, and spent years in mission work in Mexico and to Native Americans in the U.S.
They willingly gave of themselves without a contract guaranteeing an exact amount of money, as so many in modern ministries require before they would speak or sing at an event. James and Beth certainly did not begrudge or frown upon those that did, but they lived by faith, and had many opportunities to experience the miracle of God’s provision. They had seen the glow of love on the face of a widow giving from her meager fixed income, and the joyous smile of a child emptying a piggy bank to give an offering. Those moments are priceless, and they never forgot the sacrifice some made to give to them, and never took it for granted.
They lived in a modest home, drove an older, beat-up Suburban, but always had enough money to get by on. They didn’t seek after money, content to live frugally and do the Lord’s work. They would have been wonderful parents, but they were never blessed with children. Thusly, they channeled all their resources and energy into helping others.
James is tall and lanky with a deep, resonant voice that would have done well in voice commercials. Beth is a petite brunette and quite attractive for her age, with hair always beautifully coifed in the same 60’s style that she had worn for years.
They were seated at a table with local politicians, and some well-known professional athletes who were attending as part of their community and civic duties. James and Beth were there to be honored that evening for their years of faithful service to the ministry sponsoring the banquet.
People approached their table to meet the politicians and athletes, or get autographs or to take pictures. No one asked James and Beth for their autograph.
That was okay, they didn’t mind. They never desired notoriety or accolades. However, numerous folks stopped by their table to personally thank them and share how their lives had been impacted by their ministry. Over the years, thousands were touched by James and Beth.
“Dear, who was that?” James whispered, nodding towards the young man walking away, who had wept as he expressed his gratitude for how James and Beth had helped him.
Beth smiled sweetly, touching James’ hand as she answered. “I just don’t remember. Our memories aren’t what they used to be, honey.”
In the past, they never forgot anyone’s name or face. Ah…but now!
They laughed softly, their glances speaking of a deep, comfortable, familiar love for one another. They continued warm, polite conversation with their table group. The politicians and athletes were well trained in public mannerisms – obviously some didn’t want to be there, but smiled graciously, hiding it quite well.
Once the meal was over, the program agenda for the evening commenced. The mission statement of the organization was elaborated upon, testimonials were heard, and there was special music. The politicians and athletes were introduced and recognized. There was polite applause and the flash of cameras.
Lastly, James and Beth were asked to come to the platform. With great effort, James got to his feet, linking Beth’s arm through his as they slowly made their way forward.
There was no flash of cameras - not even any polite applause!
Instead, there stood a young lady they had helped, now a professional photographer, poised with her camera, and thunderous applause resounded, everyone on their feet in a standing ovation, honoring the era of ministry by this precious couple, who gave simply because of their love for others and for their Lord and Savior.
The applause continued long after James and Beth made it to the platform, tears coursing down their cheeks, overwhelmed by this outpouring for them.
And God was pleased!
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