This evening, as Hubby and I were in Church, there was a whole family of several generations, sitting in the row in front of us. Tonight were baby dedications so there were many extended family members present who don’t normally attend our Church.
But my attention was caught by the grandmother, or rather, the GREAT-grandmother. She was easily well into her 80’s, needing help up and a steadying hand to hold her while she caught her balance, every time we stood for a prayer or song. I half expected her to quit standing and stay seated after the first song or two. But no, she kept getting up each time. Her hair was disheveled, flattened on a couple sides and sticking out straight on the others. Her aged frame was bent from a lifetime of living and the rigors that it brings. Her hands, though gnarled and twisted with arthritis, had well-cared for nails.
At first, it was her hands that drew my second look. As uncomfortable as it had to have been for her, she clapped along during every song. Her body, too unstable to sway to a melody, remained still but her hands told a different story. They kept time with the beat. They moved with grace and eagerness despite their frailness.
And so my attention was led from her hands on to her face. Or rather, the side of her face as that was all my view would afford. She sang along! She wasn’t just enjoying the music, she knew the words and appeared to be singing her heart out. This lady was praising her God. She wasn’t going to let any old, tired, aching body stand in her way. No ma’am.
In my mind’s eye, I could see her as she might have been picturing herself… dancing and swaying on nimble, agile feet before the very throne of her Savior. I’m certain that’s how our honest, true worship must look to God. He sees our souls, our true selves, as they really are. Our souls aren’t bogged down with earthly years of toil and the physical abuse that our bodies must endure. And for those brief moments I watched this dear sweet lady, I saw her soul…
Her hands, that now were beautiful and lovely to me and no longer twisted and damaged, stilled their clapping as she lifted them up, closed her eyes in concentrated praise and sang those words directly to her Lord. The words that she was singing?
“…Take my life and let it be, all for You and for Your glory. Take my life and let it be Yours…”
Suddenly I was struck with the lesson this beautiful, fragrant picture of a true worship offering was showing me… this woman, with most of her life already lived, STILL found reason to devote and dedicate her life to Him. She was still choosing to give Him her all. She wasn’t sitting in her seat, saying to herself that she’d already done her part for Him. That she’d paid her dues. That she’d given Him her best days and now she was content to take it easy and let the younger folks take up the slack. No. She was still striving to bring Him glory. She still wanted “in” on the blessing of glorifying Him in any and every way possible.
And then I felt the sting of regret. This sweet lady was showing me up. Not that it is a contest. It’s not. But we were practically side by side examples of worship for God to see. And while I love worshiping my Lord. And I love to spend my quiet times with Him. And I strive to only become closer and more intimate with Him, never taking a step that doesn’t follow His Will… What about my days that I don’t feel good? What about the days I’m just too tired from a night of interrupted sleep? How much glory does God receive from me when my hair doesn’t cooperate, I feel my wardrobe is severely lacking and I’m consumed with my earthly appearance instead of my heavenly one? During my grumpy, impatient and/or stressed out moments, would God even desire my life if I’d bothered to take my eyes off myself long enough to actually offer it to Him?
But look at her. Just look at her. For all earthly accounts and purposes, she has a lot to complain about. But tonight? I didn’t see any complaining in her body language. Nope. She was pure joy. She was happy to be at Church and she was happy to offer up, again, her life to glorify God.
Yet another kick in the pants to get my heart jolted out of it’s funk and into the place it should be.
I’m hoping she’ll be there next week.
I’m not the fastest learner.