Two Little Old Ladies
Where is “Barn Green Road?” It is in a little Scottish town of Arbroath. My wife has Scottish roots and on a trip of a lifetime we made our way from Inverness to search for members of Sharon’s family tree. From her research she discovered that her great grandfather came from Arbroath and specifically on Barn Green Road. She actually had a street address. The likelihood that she would actually locate the specific house where her great grandfather lived was remote at best. But find it, we did! The house still stands directly across the street from the ruins of the Arbroath Abbey, an historic relic in Scottish history. I must say it was a moving experience to see her touch base with her legacy.
But we needed to be absolutely sure that this was the exact house. A few doors removed from where we thought the house stood there is an old church that dates back to the fifteenth century. Standing at the doorway of that church there were two little elderly ladies waiting for a ride to pick them up. I went up to them and inquired about the name of the street we were on because it had two names attached to it, one of which was Barn Green Road. They welcomed me with open arms (Scottish people are generally very friendly). They confirmed what we thought – this was indeed the street and the house where her great grandfather was raised.
The women invited us into the church to show us around this still active but ancient church building. It was magnificent. Whenever I enter these old churches the first place I go is to the pulpit, my first love in ministry. This pulpit was elevated far above the congregation, as was the building custom in those days. The purpose was to architecturally illustrate the centrality of preaching the Word of God. On the pulpit a large Bible stood open while Sharon communed with the women below. It was opened to a passage in Psalm 92…
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Psalm 92:12-15 ESV)
This is a favorite passage of mine since it portrays the elderly man or woman, as they ought to be – fruit bearing in their old age. I listened closely as these two special ladies spoke with pride of their church and the ministry of that church. Their sanctuary had been redone keeping intact the balcony in its original form. It was a sight to behold. Folding chairs replaced the old pews and these two women, both lifetime members, overflowed with joy as they described how they recently hosted a wedding reception in the sanctuary by replacing the chairs with round tables and a band. Instead of resenting change, these women embraced it and saw how God was using their beloved old church to reach a new generation for Jesus. I asked for their permission to read them the passage from the pulpit Bible, Psalm 92:12-15. When I looked down on these two precious women I told them that they are the image of Psalm 92. They just smiled with bright faces, anxious to show us their kitchen and the rest of this ancient building.
From there we knew we were on a roll. Sharon mentioned to me that her great grandmother came from a little town called Letham about 45 minutes away. Could we possibly find her great grandmother’s home site? We knew it was an empty lot near her church. But could we actually find it? After snaking through some of the narrowest rural roads, FIND IT WE DID! When Sharon saw this empty lot she began to weep. Of course, her sympathetic husband had to snap some pictures of her emotional backlash. I must say, I too was moved not so much because we found her great grandmother’s home site and her church directly next door, but because of how much legacy mattered to Sharon. LEGACY DOES MATTER! I couldn’t help but think of our own legacy. In the next several hundred years will we still be remembered? Will it matter to the not yet born “Sharons” of the Betters legacy? Will I still bring forth fruit in my old age?
These two little old ladies’ response to change encouraged us deeply, because instead of being a thorn in the side of the church leadership, holding on to “sacred cows,” they saw the eternal value of change. They didn’t just sit back and watch, but they rolled up their sleeves and joined the spiritual war of offering help and hope to the hurting through the Gospel. How we want to do the same!
Perhaps you are a first generation Christian. Don’t throw away your past, but look for the scorch marks along the way that helped turn your heart toward Jesus. And then, gratefully walk by faith, knowing God is creating a legacy that will help turn hearts toward Jesus from generation to generation. Your choices today are not just about you, but might just influence people yet to be born.
In His grip,
Dr. Chuck F. Betters
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