“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:23
I attended the “receiving of friends” portion of a funeral this week. It was held at the church where I grew up and got married. My parents still attend there and for me, it was a real homecoming kind of experience.
It’s a small church in a small town. Growing up there, I felt loved and accepted. The people who attended that church were the people who always attended that church. Families raised their children together. Kids were birthed, nurtured, raised, and married off in that church family.
I grew up and married a minister, so I left that church to go be a pastor’s wife in another church. It just wouldn’t do for me to stay in that church while my husband served in another, but that small church will always be my church.
As I stood in a long line to pay my final respects to the family, I saw so many familiar faces. So many people had come back for this. I noticed a man ahead of me, and as he turned, I stared. Not polite, I know, but the site of him gave me pause. The man looked just like his own father, only his father has been dead for a few years now. I realized that what I saw in him was what his father looked like at that age, back when I was just a girl. As I saw more of the kids I grew up with, now parents and grandparents themselves, the scene was repeated again and again. That one looking just like her mother, that one his dad. I thought of the scripture that tells us that children are a legacy from the Lord. As I stood there in line, this verse took on new meaning for me.
What am I passing on in my children besides my physical features? I mean, put longer hair on my oldest son and he’d be a dead ringer for me. But what else did I give him? What legacy will I be passing on to my kids after I am gone? I hope it is more than fair skin and brown eyes. Much more. I hope they will possess a passion for Jesus, a love for His Word, and compassion for the lost and hurting. I hope they give their lives for things that matter and leave the rest. I hope they teach their children to love the Lord, too.
As I stood in line and waited for my chance to give my love to the family, I couldn’t help think of all the mother’s I once had in that church. I was there to celebrate the life of one of them. Patricia Rudd had been a great influence in my life as I was growing up and becoming. She taught me to sing “This Little Light of Mine” in Bible school. I watched her as she often led the women’s missions group of our church to help those in need. I saw her sing praises to her Lord, watched her raise her own kids to love and serve Him, and teach the lessons of Scripture to a Sunday school class for decades. She never failed to speak encouraging words to me. She modeled grace and kindness for me, and set a wonderful example of a Godly wife and mother.
She was one of my mother’s best friends, and she lived a life worth celebrating. I know her family, church, and community will miss her, but she left a legacy behind that has already spanned generations. I am sure as she faced her Savior, realizing all she lived her life for was true, that He said to her, “Well, done, Patricia”