As a child I was raised in church by a God fearing Grandmother, who always made sure that she was in church at any given service. She was a wealth of wisdom, a wealth of morals and a wealth of love. She did not have much education as she only attended part of the 1st grade. You see when she was young school was not required nor was it of importance, or so they thought. What she had was a genuine heart, a loving heart and a Christ like heart. She taught us to be kind to others, to help others when they are down on their luck and to always forgive and remember that God will take care of those that wrong his people-“Vengenance is mine saith the Lord”
My grandmother was saved as a young woman at a church service on the bayou side. They did not have a fancy building, what they did have was the love of Christ, the desire to be like Christ and they trusted in Christ to be their guide. They did not desire material things, they did not desire fancy buildings or lots of money. What they did desire was to serve the Lord with a sincere heart, to reach out to others and to spread the word of God. My grandmother got saved and hit the ground running so to speak. She got saved and NEVER looked back. Once she accepted Jesus, giving her life to him she turned her life around.
I remember my grandma telling stories about how she would go to church and come home to my grandpa who would be angry that she went to church and he would beat her. She knew when she left for church that she would be facing those consequences when she returned. But, she went to church anyway. God was the rock of her life, he was her strength, her breath, her faith was in him. My grandma, as I said did not have a formal education and she had young children to take care of. That’s why she stayed with my grandpa, she thought that since she had no education she had to stay to be sure that they were fed and had a roof over her head. She always taught us to work hard and get our education. That we did not have to depend on anyone, that we did not have to take anything from a man. That if the man loved us he would treat us right.
One of the biggest things that my grandmother accomplished in her life was starting a church on our street. One of her brothers donated her some land with a small building to start the church. It was a struggle, sometimes she would go alone but, she was there serving the Lord. She ran this church for many years, had many ups and downs but, she never gave up, she always had faith that God would provide, that he would send the people to get the job done. I remember one Sunday evening we went down to the church, my grandmother, my brothers, sisters and I. We were having song service and a gentleman walked in wearing his work clothes. We welcomed him, he apologized for wearing greasy dirty clothes. My grandmother told him something that I will NEVER forget. She told him “It does not matter how you are clothed, it matters that you are here and that you are here to serve the Lord with all your heart” I can still see that man standing there praising with song, the smile on his face, the peace in his heart and the fact that he was welcome in the house of the Lord.
You know the Bible says that you should come as you are, come follow Me says the Lord. He says that no matter how broken or battered you are he will take you in and love you. He will heal you and comfort you, he will lead and guide you. All you have to do is follow him, follow him with your heart. Have faith in him and trust him with everything in you.
This is the kind of church that I miss, this is the kind of mentallity that I miss. I long for that acceptance, that Christ like love. Too many churches today believe that it is more acceptable to look down on others because of the way they dress or the way they look. They believe it is more acceptable to think more of the building than of the people. The people are the church not the building. God is the true foundation of the church. You can have the biggest, immaculate building but, without the spirit of God what kind of church do you have?
This is where “Vengenance is mine saith the Lord comes in”–when you have a church body that suppresses the faith, supresses the outreach and fails to show the love of Christ. Fails to welcome even the most wretched person, failing to realize that Jesus died for them too. We are all sinners saved by grace.
Dedicated to my dear sweet grandmother