OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE….
…NOT OBEDIENCE RATHER THAN SACRIFICE
Last Wednesday I left the office early and took an overnight trip. I picked up Ken, one of God’s trophies, and made my way to Sebring, Florida to visit with my 98 years young Aunt Julia. A number of decades ago my Aunt Julia became the wife of my Uncle, a Baptist preacher, who is now enjoying his heavenly rewards. For 50 plus years she stood by his side as the First Lady of the church, a very challenging and difficult position to hold at times.
As we visited and reminisced she shared stories of her life as the wife of a circuit riding pastor. Uncle Etha served four little country churches at one time. They would often stay in the home of parishioners the night before or after Sunday services which sometimes created a challenge as well.
She told of the time they stayed with a family and at bed time they were taken to the barn to sleep. After running the hound dog off the mattress provided for their bed she took her new born baby and wrapped her up in her “petty coat”. She was hoping to keep any fleas or ticks the dog may have left in the bed from biting the baby.
Her life was a marker for obedience. As a young bride she vowed to stay with her groom through the best and the worst. She became the mother of 4 daughters and remained faithfully obedient to her Savior as well as her mate.
Obedience is better than sacrifice but it often requires sacrifice which she willingly gave.
Then I made my way on down to Dunklin Memorial Camp, a substance abuse residential faith based ministry located in Okeechobee, Florida. There I was able to visit with Brother Mickey Evans and his very devoted wife, Laura Mae. These two folks are also a marker of total obedience to the Lord.
God gave Brother Mickey a vision to begin a camp for alcoholics and he obeyed. He and Laura Mae left a newly built pastor’s home in Indiantown, Florida, and moved to the swamp in a little one room shack.
Last year the ministry celebrated the 50th anniversary of the camp. I read the history of the ministry as written in a newly composed book printed and published for this special event. I was taken back by the multitudes of circumstantial obedience endured by these two dedicated people.
Laura Mae cooked on an old bed box springs in order to feed her family and the men in the camp. Brother Mickey began loving on the unlovely and ministering to the wounded and hurting addicts as God brought them to the camp. A swamp filled with snakes along with other critters was gradually developed into an absolute miraculous village.
My prayer is that each of us, including me, will learn and be inspired by the obedience of those that have gone before us. They are the markers in our lives that should lead us in the direction of sacrificial obedience. It is the road “less traveled by” but the road that leads to eternal rewards, perhaps some present rewards, but surely the eternal ones.