I just got home from attending a 50th wedding anniversary party for my in laws. Over 100 people joined together to celebrate! Old friends that they hadn't seen in many years came. Their church family was there. Their blood family was there except for one grandchild who was out of town. And what was even more amazing was the father of the bride was there! He'll be 94 next month! How many 50th wedding anniversary parties do you go to where a parent of the bride or groom is in attendance?
As I sat there and watched people greet them, reminiscing over old times, and giving them congratulations, I saw the joy and happiness on this well deserving couple's faces.
Here they were, 50 years after a shy 17 old boy and beautiful 19 year old girl tied the knot with nothing more than love to share with each other. They seemed like an unassuming couple. They married in Waynesboro, moved a few miles away to a town called Shady Grove, and then moved a few more miles further to a town called Greencastle where he worked almost 40 years for a manufacturing company and she spent her days cooking, cleaning and doing laundry--never even got her driver's license. They raised two boys who in turn married and had children of their own. Seems pretty normal, doesn't it?
But as my brother in law shared about their upbringing he brought up a point that I think is worth sharing and thinking about. This couple love God. They lived a Godly life before their sons, without any hypocrisy. They prayed both their sons back to God, after a not so brief exit from the faith.
Their sons, in turn, yielded a call from God to ministry. One son, pastored several churches both in youth ministry, campus ministry, and as a Sr. Pastor. Because of this there are missionaries literally all over the world, and families in the U.S. who faithfully support those missionaries all over the world.
The other son followed his call to Africa and will be ordaining 50 more ministers in November which brings the total to over 300. Three hundred pastors going throughout West Africa with the good news of Jesus Christ, all because two teenagers married and served God faithfully all of their lives. God only knows what else we could add to their repetoire, because they are both too humble to even mention what else they might have done in 50 years of marriage to affect the world for Jesus Christ. In fact, I doubt that until tonight they ever even thought about their lives making an impact of any recognition because they weren't building a kingdom, they were simply serving God. They weren't trying to be something, they simply were what God made them to be.
This couple will never be famous, not even in Africa, but God not only knows their names, He knows their hearts and He has recorded every good deed done in His name, for which they will receive their just reward.
They are a perfect example of "good and faithful servants". They simply followed God, even though He never led them more than 20 miles from the point where they started. In the grand scheme of things, they won't be remembered like a Charles Finney, or John Wesley. No history books will be written about them, they won't be included in the next edition of Foxes Book of Martyrs. But their names are written in the most important book--the Book of Life.
Throughout their marriage, they have managed to become one small stitch in the tapestry of time. And when time is over, and the tapestry is finally finished and on display, we would have to look very hard to find them. No one will examine the finished product and pick out that one little stitch and comment on it's beauty. They wouldn't want that either. But had they not been that stitch, there would be a gaping hole where their stitch and all the stitches that have stemmed from them should have been.
Only time and the judgement will fully reveal what a simple, God fearing, Christ loving couple has managed to accomplish for God without ever leaving home! Their lives are a tremendous encouragement for me as I go through the seemingly ordinary days of my life. They are also a tremendous challenge to me to live my life completely submitted and surrendered to God, not viewing success as anything earthly, but simply living for the One that saved me from my sin and watching what He can do through a yielded vessel.
Congratulations Harold and Louise on your 50 years of marriage, service, and success! May God continue to add stitches to His tapestry through your lives! I pray your stitch is of the very finest, shiniest gold!