In my inner city church there is a never ending supply of amazement. There are many people who stand as trophies of God’s grace, showing off the characteristics of God’s forgiveness, mercy, love, hope, and at times suffering.
Currently there is one dear sister in Christ who, while suffering, stands as a blessing and conviction to me. If you were to see her on the street or even in your church, there are many who would pass by her without a second thought. There would be even some who would work hard to avoid her. She is not a typical well dressed, well educated, good looking Christian woman with well placed costume jewelry. She is an older, very quiet, undereducated, sloppy dresser who doesn’t always smell the best. However, she displays Christ in ways that few others can. This dear lady has been a faithful member of our church for many years. She loves coming to church and is so happy to sing in the choir. She comes faithfully to every service. She is happy just to be in church.
Recently she has had to miss a couple of services. She has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and has started chemotherapy. I know from others that the treatment is rough and leaves you feeling very sick, but you would never know from watching this woman. Every service she attends she praises God for being able to come. She continues to sing in the choir and has promised to keep doing it as long as she can. I have been convicted by her faithfulness. I think everyone can learn from this dear sister.
Watching her I realized that many times I am a wimp when it comes to faithfulness. When I am tired, or have a cold, I usually see it as an opportunity to stay home and “rest”. I don’t see worshiping God as the prized possession or great opportunity that it is. I don’t push through the pain realizing that the “rest” I think I need is nothing compared to the opportunity I have to fellowship publicly with my God. Watching her I realize that I have lost the joy of worship. How many times have I come to church excited to sing in the choir? Or happy to sit and hear God’s word? Sure as a pastor’s wife, I have a smile for others, but is there true joy in my heart as I am filled with the knowledge of Jesus Christ and what He has done for me. I realized that often I am there because I am expected to be or because I have duties to perform. I worship because I’m a Christian and that is what Christians do. I don’t smile because my love for Christ is spilling out of me. I smile because I’m supposed to.
This woman has reminded me that there is joy in coming to church. She is satisfied just to be there in the building with the body of Christ and excited she gets to serve in the choir. The great thing about this dear woman is that her attitude didn’t change once she got cancer. She has always had these attitudes. But it is this Christ-like attitude that is helping her through her cancer and has taught me a valuable lesson. Worship is a joy, singing is a joy, and service is a joy.