Monday, July 06, 2015

The Last Man To Stand

After worship, Uncle Bill told me his name was Brother Bevil. All of our family went to worship yesterday at a smallish congregation in the rural Arkansas woods, resulting in a doubling of the normal attendance. Like many country churches, their membership is aging- Uncle Jack and Aunt Jerry told me they have had very early evening services so the elderly would not have to drive after dark. But they are working hard to reach out to young couples and there were a number of children there, always a positive sign! I met him as he was coming down the center aisle after the final amen. I thanked him for leading us in prayer mid-service and he smiled. I asked if he had lived all his life there in Nashville and he told me he had been in the area for the most part. He went on to tell me he was ninety-five but he didn't think he was the oldest member or that's what I took out of it. He also shared that he had been born to sharecroppers and added, 'we were the poorest ethnic group.' I should have asked if he knew my grandparents but we were on a time frame and many of us were getting ready to leave for other states. Uncle Bill told me had graduated from high school with my Aunt Evelyn, Mom's older sister, so there was at least some family connection with us. 

I had actually taken notice of Brother Bevil early in the service. He was sitting on the front row and I had wondered his age. When the song leader announced the selection was 'Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus,' the church rose as if on cue. I watched Brother Bevil. You see, he was in a walker and it was obviously very difficult for him. I would guess it took him at least ten seconds to make it to his feet to join his fellow worshippers in singing one of the great hymnal testimonies of faith and duty. My favorite line is from verse 2 of George Duffield's timeless hymn, penned in 1858:
'Ye that are men now serve him against unnumbered foes'

Brothers and sisters of faith have served the Lord by standing up for their beliefs for millenia. It takes different forms depending on the generation but it always takes faith and sometimes it takes a toll. I'm not sure anyone else noticed Brother Bevil's effort to get to his feet and no one would have thought twice if he had stayed in the pew. But men who grew up as sharecroppers don't walk the easy road....and there are few easy roads in a walker. Leviticus 19:32 commands the Israelites to,
 "Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God."
Sometimes, the elderly just lead by example.

Applicable quote of the day:
“The fact that you can still stand for God even when some people try to push you to fall, is a proof that you were not DRAGGED Up, but you were BROUGHT Up!”
Israelmore Ayivor

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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