I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.
— Philippians 1:3
Last week I was saddened to learn of the passing of Clara Berg.
Clara was a remarkable lady who accomplished so much in her life. Even in her later years she refused to let her age and health keep her from doing what she loved. She was a woman who was always concerned about others, especially children. In Sunday school one person commented that if all of us were like Clara, our churches would be overflowing.
Clara thought every child should be in Sunday school. If she saw someone moving into a house she would stop and see if they had any children. If they did, she was the first to invite the children to go to Sunday school. Even in restaurants she would stop and ask about children she saw. She enrolled more young children in Sunday school than any other person I knew.
Teaching pre-school was her great joy and it was difficult when the time came that she had to give it up. She taught hundreds of children during her years of teaching elementary school and pre-school in church. All who loved her will remember her great love and service for the Lord.
However, Clara isn’t the only older person who had a great impact on the lives of others. Our churches are filled with great saints of the faith who gave their lives in the service for the Lord. I am reminded of a verse in Proverbs 16:31 (NLT) which says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.”
Now I am not saying that all people with gray hair lived a godly life. I know some older people who are filled with rage, bitterness and are angry that life passed them by. All they think of are themselves.
Instead, I think about people like Clara and others who devoted themselves to a life of service to the Lord. Not all of them were as well known as Clara, but they made a great impact on the lives of others through their quiet, steady service to the Lord.
I sat and thought about all of the older people I knew over the years and the influence they had on my life. I remember a lady who lived across the street from Grandma who didn’t have any family close. I loved to go visit her, not because she gave me milk and cookies, but because she was so much fun to be around. She always seemed so interested in what I had to say. Looking back I realize she had the gift of listening, not only with her ears, but also with her heart.
I always enjoyed being around older people because they were so interesting and had so many stories to share. I never grew tired of listening to them tell stories of how they spent their childhood. From each one of them I took with me a lesson that influenced my life in a positive way.
Each one of these older people used the talents God gave them to the fullest. Although poor health slowed them down, they did what they could for the Lord. Many of these ladies were my mentors. They were living examples of Titus 2, which challenges older women to teach younger women how to live godly lives and to love their husbands and children.
I thank God for these older people, especially the older women who taught me first through their actions and then through their words how I should live my life. Thanking God isn’t enough. Many of these older people served in the church for years, not for the praise of others, but because they loved the Lord and wanted to serve God.
When was the last time you thanked an older person for the impact they made on not only your life but also the lives of others in the church? It is like what my grandmother always used to say. She told me not to wait to send flowers or say something good at someone’s funeral. She always said to do it while they could enjoy it. Don’t wait until, like Clara, they are gone. Take time today to thank an older person and tell them what they mean to you.