What Will People Say?

By Susie Frederick

Does it really matter what people say about us? In this life, Christians must always be concerned about their influence. If we live the way God wants us to live, we will be kind, compassionate, and morally good. Those are characteristics most people respect. By living in obedience to God, we bring glory to Him, and we bring a good example to other people. I recently learned of the deaths of two Christian ladies who have had a great influence on my life. I want to tell you something about their examples.

When I was a teenager growing into womanhood, Velta Lee Spruce taught the teen girls in Bible class. She was hospitable to us — we always felt welcome in her home. She sometimes took us on trips before we were old enough to drive ourselves. She encouraged us to be Christian young ladies in behavior and appearance. Velta Lee was a wonderful example of a Christian wife and mother. It was like having another “mom.” Her daughter Joyce was one of my best friends. Velta Lee has gone to be with the Lord, but her influence lingers with all who knew her.

In 1973 my husband Royce graduated from Brown Trail School of Preaching. We moved to Morgan Mill, Texas where he would be a full-time preacher for the first time. One of the older Christian ladies there was Elizabeth Davis. Elizabeth taught the ladies’ Bible class each week. She was very knowledgeable in the scriptures, and always had a wonderful lesson prepared for us. I learned so much from her about both studying and doing God’s will. She was kind and generous and wise, and such an encouragement to a young preacher’s wife! Her influence in her family, the church, and the community will produce good for a long time.

Some of the ladies the Bible tells us about are examples to us of good influence. Are you following the examples of some of them?

·     Mary, the mother of Jesus — Mary was a young virgin, humble, and full of faith. The angel Gabriel called her “highly favored one”, and said she had “found favor with God” (Luke 1:26-45). She was entrusted with the childhood training of the Lord Jesus.

·     Dorcas (Tabitha) — Dorcas was known for her good works and charitable deeds. After her death, the disciples sent for the apostle Peter. When he arrived, the widows were mourning her death, and they showed him the clothing Dorcas had made and given to them. Peter raised her from death by God’s power. “And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord” (Acts 9:42).

·     Priscilla — Priscilla and her husband Aquila were hospitable to the apostle Paul, giving him a job and welcoming him into their home to live (Acts 18:2-3). They became teachers of the gospel (Acts 18:26). They provided a meeting place for the church in their home (1 Cor. 16:19).

·     The widow in the temple — We are not even told the name of this woman, but she is a wonderful example of total commitment and sacrifice. Amid all the rich people dropping great amounts of money into the treasury, the widow dropped in two mites (coins of very little value). But her gift was of great value to God! Jesus himself commended her with these words: “this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood” (Mark 12:41-44).

·     Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus — As the time of His crucifixion drew near, a meal was prepared for Jesus at the house of Simon in Bethany. While they were eating, Mary came in and anointed Jesus with a costly oil. The disciples criticized her, thinking the expensive oil had been wasted. But Jesus said, “Let her alone...She has done a good work for me...She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial...wherever this gospel is preached throughout the whole world, what this woman did will also be spoken of as a memorial to her” (Mk. 14:3-9; see Jn. 12:1-8). The Lord said she had done what she could. God has given gifts to each of us. We do not all have the same abilities (Rom. 12:3-8), but we each can do something.

Let us all discover and develop our abilities in service to the Lord. You may be skilled in hospitality, teaching, sewing, or parenting. You may have humility and a sacrificial commitment. You may discover that your talent is for writing or encouragement. Whatever your talents may be, use them in God’s service, so that Jesus may say of you, “She has done what she could.”

How do you want to be remembered after you pass from this life? What will people say about you? More importantly, what will Jesus say about you in the day of judgment?