“Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus. “ (Reference: 1 Timothy 3:8-13 )
Yesterday, beloved, I told you about my step-father. But that is not the only mentor I had in my life – there was also my grandfather. He became a Anabaptist/Mennonite minister in his middle adult years. He was ordained by the Mennonite Church and traveled from church to church ministering and bringing people to faith. He was both an evangelist and a minister. I have memories of sitting in his church when I was a young child. When he was preaching from the pulpit it amazed me that was my grandfather.
But just like my step-father, he did not conform exactly to Paul’s description. He was worthy of respect, greatly worthy. He was temperate and honest – later in life he turned his hand to business and was honest and sincere, giving good value and service. Like Paul, he earned his keep and more. However, as I said, he came to faith not as a boy or as young man. It was after he became a husband and father, so Paul would not have considered him “tested”. Further, his marriage to my grandmother was a second marriage for both of them.
It was my grandmother actually who came to faith first, and over time brought her husband to Jesus. And my grandmother struggle to be a “proper Mennonite” wife. She was also worthy, very worthy of respect, temperate and trustworthy. And her faith in God and Jesus could not be questioned. She was a born a Jewess and came to see Jesus as her Messiah. But Sarah (Shirley) Burnstein Goodall was anything but a shy, demure, reserved Mennonite wife. At 5 ft tall (or a bit under) she was a natural force of power, and her husband knew it, and adored her for it. He could preach, prayer, and evangelize with the best of them. But Shirley was the one who lived for service and hospitality, and dispensed comfort, counsel, and compassion with every meal she served. Do not think she confined herself to just the role of hostess. My grandfather may have given the altar call that brought them to faith, then my grandmother taught/showed them how to live for God and Christ. They were a very good ministry team.
I’m not sure how Paul would have reacted to my grandmother. In fact it might be from her that I inherit my critical attitude towards Paul. For all I know, she may have already set him straight.
I thank you, beloved, for listening to me reminisce about the family members. They have served as wonderful examples for me as to how to be servants of God. I hope and pray that you have worthy examples in your life. Selah!