I'm reminded of the time that Patricia cautiously entered the church sanctuary. A friend invited her and she agreed to attend one Sunday service. As she sat among the attendees, her eyes fixed keenly upon me as I ministered. At the conclusion of the sermon, I was introduced to her, politely she smiled while remaining silent.
A few weeks passed and once again she attended another Sunday service, but this time something within her seemed to have changed. As the days progressed she began to become more involved by expressing a strong interest in church activities.
It was not long after we began to notice her presence on a more frequent basis. Patricia discovered something that countless others can agree upon. She undoubtedly found a church family that heartily embraced her.
People attend church for different reasons, some come to get a perspective of the worship atmosphere. Others attend looking to typically see where they belong. Yet, Patricia appeared to have discovered a place that she could be herself and at the same time willingly offer support to others.
She started serving in ways that were helpful to others, from assisting in feeding and clothing the needy to faithful attendance in weekly services. She submitted input when asked and was unbashful in correcting those who required correction.
As the months went on Patricia's heart began to grow, it was obvious to others who ministered alongside her. She had become a central part of the church ministry. She invited and encouraged family and friends to come and witness what she had. She reached out to anyone and gained admiration from those in the congregation. She sat on the same side of the sanctuary every week, cordially receiving and learning the word of God.
She strongly shared with others some of her misfortunes in life, all the while offering a ray of hope. Consistently she would mention after a message, "Good Word Pastor." And if that was not enough she would approach me and repeat how much she enjoyed the preaching.
Not many people are appreciative in churches today, and many others show little or no gratitude. Patricia was determined to allot herself the satisfaction of being grateful.
The Bible speaks of a woman who was appreciative of what Jesus had done for her. She was Mary Magdalene one who had been delivered by Christ Jesus and instantly became a faithful follower of him. John 19:25.
In the same way, Patricia had become fond of Jesus Christ, and her heart grew more towards him and in administering the Lord's service to others. Faithful in prayers, faithful in giving, and most of all walking in compassion.
Patricia has now entered the presence of God, and I'm sure she is offering up her heart in a great way. She is receiving the reward that is rightly hers, by allowing God to eternally fill her heart with his unconditional love.