Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Colossians 4:32
I needed to go…and she was right. I served as pastor at Cobden First Baptist Church for fourteen years. For the first couple of years, we had someone to do the bulletin but that was about it. After the church grew, we decided to hire a secretary and that was when Lydia came on scene. When we hired her, she told us that she didn’t have a lot of experience but was willing to learn. Well, my twelve years in the Air Force as an Administrative Specialist made me a pretty good teacher. Before long, Lydia was up and running and she became one of the best secretaries I have ever had.
What Lydia initially lacked in practical experience she more than made up in a heart to help. When someone came into the office and needed an encouraging word…Lydia was there. When someone was struggling with life…she was there. On any given day you could count on her to bring a little sunlight into the office. There was a time, and I don’t remember why, my wife Judy and I were the ones needing that encouragement. It was a church thing, perhaps an unhappy member, who knows, but we needed that little ray of sunshine.
I can remember it to this day. Judy and I were sitting on the front porch watching the traffic go by. Whatever was on our hearts and mind wasn’t devastating but apparently it was difficult. I learned a long time ago something doesn’t have to be the end of the world to feel like it. Well, it felt like it. It was about 4:30 or 5:00 pm…right before supper time…when a car pulled into our driveway. It was Lydia. She had ordered a pizza, made the trip to a nearby town, and was now delivering it…unannounced and unexpected. Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t just any pizza…it was from our favorite place. That’s just what she did.
One year for Boss’s Day, she called an Air Force veteran who attended our church. She knew, of course, that I was an Air Force veteran and she was looking for a pair of aviation sunglasses to give me as a gift. She was just checking to see if he knew where she might get a pair. As it turned out, he had a pair, new in the box, stored away. When it came Boss’s Day, she gave me the glasses. When I opened them…I just couldn’t believe it! First, it was the perfect gift. Secondly, and she didn’t know this, nor did he, but there stamped on the box was the date of manufacture which happened to be the month and year I joined the Air Force. How about that.
There was one more thing that Lydia did that made her special. She gracefully spoke the truth. Occasionally I would come into the office and be just a hair grumpy. I know that is hard to believe (smile) but trust me, it is true. She knew I needed a little help. Her solution? Almost without fail she would say, “Bro. Dewayne, you need to go to the nursing home.” It wasn’t a statement about my age or future she just knew that going to serve someone was a sure-fire fix. And it always seemed to work. I would go, I would come back and simply say, “Thank you.”
Judy and I are thankful for many things throughout the many years we served at Cobden. But near the top of the list is a friend named Lydia. She would be the first to tell you of her imperfections, but she loved people and she loved Jesus and that was always like a fresh wind. Judy and I will never forget her kindness and the example that she set. Paul, one of the guys who wrote a big chunk of the New Testament said, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Lydia got that right.
In today’s culture if you look around you will see signs telling us to be kind. I think that is spot on and I also believe that Christians should be leading the way…just like a Jesus follower named Lydia. Be kind when you can and guess what? You always can. Need a little help? Just ask God. He would be more than happy to point you in the right direction. You might say, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne