A Simple Gesture of Love
The two men looked slightly out of place as they waited in line to greet the widow at the front of the church. They wore their work clothes and carried bouquets of flowers wrapped in cellophane, the kind you purchase at a grocery store. When they finally got to the front of the church, they spoke to the woman and her daughter and presented them with the bouquets then sat in one of the pews for the celebration of life service. The woman’s daughter-in-law took the grocery store bouquets and laid them on the piano on the stage where everyone could see them. Sure, they weren’t as elaborate or professional as the bouquet on the stage but their simplicity went straight to the heart.
It wasn’t until after the funeral that my husband and I learned the full story of these two men.
The two workers with the grocery-store bouquets had come to pay their respects to the kind man who had employed them from time to time. In broken English, they told his wife that someone had called them to tell them “Mr. Jerry is no more”. They took time off of work in the middle of the day in the middle of the week to share with the grieving widow how much her husband had meant to them, how kind and fair he had been to them. They went and bought flowers at a grocery store, a small gesture of love and respect that spoke volumes.
I still get teary-eyed just thinking about it.
They Gave It All
It reminds me of the story of the widow’s offering. Jesus was in the Temple with the disciples. He watched as the wealthy people came in and dropped their offerings in the collection box. A poor widow came by and dropped her mite into the collection box. Jesus said to the disciples, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” You can find this story in Luke 21:1-4 or Mark 12:41-44.
A few years ago, we were at a church service in a little village in Uganda. As the offering plate was passed, we noticed that someone had put in a single egg. It was the most they had to give. We were undone by that.
These are all examples of sacrificial giving, giving that costs something.
I think about the two men at the celebration of life service. Perhaps they felt a little awkward coming into a church full of people who didn’t look like them. Perhaps they were going to forfeit money from their paycheck that day. Perhaps they were going to buy something for their families but decided to buy the flowers instead. They gave sacrificially and it wasn’t lost on us.
A Life Well Lived
I think about the gentleman whose life we were celebrating too. How special he was that everyone from city officials to common workers honored him. Oh, to live a life like that.
I have no doubt that as soon as he passed from this life on earth to it’s continuation in heaven, he heard the words from our Lord
"Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord". Matthew 25:21 WEB