This past Lord’s Day I had the opportunity to return to Grace Bible Fellowship Church in Melissa, Texas, where I had pastored for 10 years until 2001. It was a precious time with the saints there. The highlight for me was the presence of Mrs. Elizabeth Smiley at the services. Mrs. Smiley has been a dear friend of mine for 15 or more years. She is 98 years old. We are close because of her love for Jesus and her love for “the least of these”. Mrs. Smiley was involved in inner city ministry in Dallas up into her eighties (taking prostitutes into her home, leading prayer meetings and caring for the needy).
It was a joy to watch the love of the Lord in Mrs. Smiley’s tears as I preached about Jesus.
It was life changing (I hope) when at the end of the bible study hour where another man taught on “not complaining”, I heard Mrs. Smiley make this confession. “I want to confess that I have been a complainer of late and by the grace of God I want to spend the rest of my life being thankful instead of complaining.” The Word of God and the Spirit of God are still making her more like Jesus at 98.
After the service, Mrs. Smiley and I had the chance to pray together. Afterwards, she asked me to give this message to our interns. I think it’s good enough to share with all of you. “Tell them to keep offering hope to everyone. Everyone needs hope.”