Nelly

Well, It’s another Sunday morning. “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8-10 (ESV).

I keep going back to my childhood for memories of where my Christian beliefs came from, I believe some of them came from a nice lady that lived just down the road from us. See, if you walked about two city blocks down an old brown gravel road to a small shack that set up on a rise on the left hand side of the road you would find the Henderson’s home. For the life of me I can’t remember the husband’s first name, he was always gone working or was never around to talk to, but I remember Nelly. I was just a very young boy and would find myself wondering down this old, dirty brown gravel road and quite often I would end up at Nelly’s house. She would always have something cooking on the stove, It might only be a pot of butter beans, but she would always scoop me up some and set me down to eat and we would talk. Sometimes we would play gin rummy and we would talk more, she would let me win every now and then to keep me coming back.

See, Nelly Henderson shared her food and her wit and her knowledge, but what this wonderful elderly lady did best was share her love. We read this truth in 1 John 4:7-8 (ESV), “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Nelly knew our Lord, She kept the Good Book within reach of where she would sit to relax. Our conversations always seemed to get around to talking about the Bible and about Jesus. Sometimes she would talk to me about the stories in the Bible, She told me the story of King David, and of Cane and Able, Ruth, and other stories too. She shared the word with me in a most loving manor.

God has so many marvelous ways of getting His word out there. When he can use an elderly lady with a pot of butter beans to spread the good word to a little boy and it stays with him for his entire life, well, God is amazing in all that He does. Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV) Jesus says this, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” I believe that’s exactly what Nelly was doing her entire life. Even when she was collecting eggs she was giving thanks to the God.

Nelly was born in March, many year ago. She never told me her age. I never asked. She was very old when I was very young. March first was her birthday, March thirty-first is mine. I find God’s poetic touch even in that little tidbit. Nelly would say, “March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion.” I would say, “huh uh, it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

When it came to Sweet Nelly Henderson, maybe it was both. She was gentle like a lamb, but spread the word of our Lord like a lion. Here’s the thing, Nelly just barely had a window to throw anything out of, but what she had she would gladly share. The most important thing she had to share was the love for others. Do you have a Nelly in your life? Are you a Nelly Henderson to someone? I hope you have a person like her around you, she left a life-long impression on me that’s for sure.

The truth is, God wants us all to do what Nelly Henderson did, and we should. Share the word with someone, fry them some taters or make them a pot of beans, bake them a ham, fry them a chicken or don’t cook for them at all, but tell them about our great Lord and Master and His mighty word and that they are loved even if they don’t think they are. I would be honored to do that for all of you today. The truth is, God is so wonderful and His amazing Grace is for all of us, not just a select few, He truly does love each and every one of you and so do I.

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