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FIRST-PERSON: The valuable widow

Adobe Stock photo. Do not publish.

This past week we lost another widow in our church. She was 91.

Pastor Josh Greene, FBC Fairdale, Louisville, Ky.

In the last two years, we have had several of our older widows pass away. It’s been heavy for our church to think about life without them.

On one hand, they were ordinary. Nothing flashy. The kind of older church people that just attend.

On the other hand, they were invaluable. In the unseen world, where the Spirit of God blows like the wind and does what He pleases, these widows’ lives had an enormous impact on the Kingdom of God.

As we have spent this last week (and really these past few years) mourning and grieving, I have been reflecting a lot on how their impact has been so large. Here are some thoughts:

They were present

These widow ladies were almost always present. If it happened in our church life, they were there. They attended every event. Bible studies, prayer meetings, members’ meetings, Christmas parties, women’s ministry events, baby showers, homecoming, pastor appreciation, and everything else. They were never too busy. They never had too much going on. They were always there. They heard all the sermons. And by simply being present often, they allowed their lives to have a greater impact than they ever could have imagined. In Acts 9, we have the miraculous story of God raising Dorcas from the dead through the Apostle Peter. That’s an amazing story. But there is also a little detail in the story that we need to see, In Acts 9:39 and 9:41, it mentions that the “widows” were there along with Peter. Luke doesn’t tell us why. It doesn’t give us any detail as to why they were there. Other than this, the widows were often there. They were a part of the church, and so they brought substance and participation and encouragement to the church group. As we reflect upon the loss of these widows, their presence had such an impact. Their absence will be noticeable. They will be greatly missed!

They were praying

These widow ladies often battled discouragement because they could not do more. But as we have often discussed together, they were able to pray. And praying consistently and fervently is the best thing any church member can do. Countless times, I have been driving down the road and called some of our widows to ask them to be praying. Many times over long talks, I have assigned prayer responsibilities to our widows. They are thrilled to know that the church is a team. They pray while others serve. I know for certain that the blessing of God upon our work is due to the daily prayers of these widows.

They are priorities

These widows have been used by God to remind us of biblical priorities. That famous passage in James 1:27 reminds us of God’s prioritizing of widows. Pure and undefiled religion before the Father involves widows. Their simple and slow lives are opportunities for all of us to re-calibrate to that which God values. I remember clearly the widows always attending all the funerals to support each other. I remember the many times these widows have fed young people. We recall the trips to Subway or Red Lobster with them. We remember the time that they invited a group of college students over to their homes for a meal. The meal was pinto beans and cornbread. The widows served the plates. It was a wonderful time that God used to grow some young adults toward thinking about their priorities. From their lives, we now understand more greatly the value of widows.

These widows were special. I cannot think of my time in Fairdale without thinking of them. I cannot think of my family’s growth and development without thinking of them. We cannot think of our church’s healthy progress without thinking of them. In such a humble way, their lives and impact have been invaluable! Presence and prayers don’t draw a lot of attention, but God uses them in a strong way to bless others and strengthen His church.