Be a Mary Lou

Psalm 119 has a nickname.

As the longest psalm and chapter of the Bible, it’s dubbed the Mount Everest of the Psalter. Most of its 176 verses point to the beauty of knowing God’s word. The psalmist knew the joy and blessing of hearing the voice of God.

And he understood how God’s word leads God’s people.

In the psalm, he asked the question, how can young people keep their way pure? They do so by guarding their way according to God’s word. Now, let me ask you a follow-up question. How can young people know God’s word?

You could put the responsibility on young people. Of course, then you’d have to ask who were the young people the psalmist had in mind. I’m convinced it’s not a young person’s obligation. Some take greater pleasure in learning the stories of scripture. They are more engaged in reading and learning to pray.

Most young people, though, need people who have already been young to teach them.

Yesterday, a member from one of our previous churches shared that his mother passed away. Her name was Mary Lou. Ms. Mary Lou was not flashy or over-the-top engaging, but she loved Jesus and she loved children.

She loved my children.

Mary Lou taught Sunday School for all three of the Fletchermints.

I wrote a small testimony on Facebook last night and I wasn’t ready for the swell in my throat that emerged as I did. It’s the same swell that came as I wrote today’s devotional. I’ve known many former church members who have passed away. It’s always sad to hear of their passing.

This felt different. Mary Lou taught my children how to love Jesus.

I thank God for those like her in our churches. One of the concerns I have with the state of the church today is that an entire generation of children is growing up with fewer people so committed to showing them the way of Jesus like she did.

Mary Lou didn’t only teach Sunday School. There were times she sat with the Fletchermints in worship. She always gave them a smile and loved hearing about their schoolwork and sports.

By her own admission, she moved at her own slow pace. If she saw you waiting for her down the hall as she approached slowly, she’d say, “Yes, I am running.” She could be a bit stubborn, too. Again, she always freely shared these self truths! And she didn’t have much to give financially.

I’ve noticed that if you don’t have a lot to give, some people grow weary of dealing with you. They’re less patient with you. You’re used to not getting appreciated.

Ms. Mary Lou offered my family the greatest gift of all: the love of Jesus. She did all she could to show my children the beauty of God’s word and how they can keep their way pure. Today, I give God glory and thanks for Mary Lou. I honor her as a saint of God whose ministry is bearing fruit today. She wore few crowns in this life, but today God gave her an unfading crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). 

Let me ask you to be ready. You may never teach Sunday school, but will you do all you can to be a Mary Lou to the young people God puts in your life?

Stay blessed…john

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