The First 15

Tuesday August 25, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield



Luke 18:1-8

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”


Last Friday, I officiated the funeral service for my dad’s mom, whom I call Mamaw. Both Mamaw and Papaw have been in hospice care for several months. It wasn’t a surprise generally speaking but the family had no warning the end was imminent. If the news media were covering her death, they’d say she died of Covid-19 even though she had many other underlying health issues. More significant and probably not reported in many other cases was the fact that Mamaw died only a couple hours after being removed from Papaw. Papaw tested positive for the coronavirus and is asymptomatic. He was moved to isolation once he tested positive and Mamaw died a couple hours later. They would have celebrated 70 years of marriage next year. Mamaw loved Papaw fiercely. I know I’m not alone in expressing the periods of heaviness we share throughout this season. We are surely being tested. However, God’s glory is on display for us in a time such as this. That’s my experience from the weekend.

Mamaw did it again. From heaven she managed to do what she did best. One of her greatest gifts was her ability to bring the family together. Now, her methods may not have always been completely pure. She could be mean and complain and bother you until you submitted to her will. She may have had a tendency to complain about her eyesight, among other things, to get what she wanted when she could read every ingredient list at the grocery store. She never put any of that on us grandkids but I know her children and in-laws know a lot more about that side of her. She definitely wasn’t above using sly or questionable means to get what she wanted but what she usually wanted more than anything was for us all to be together. Even though God doesn’t need help in paying attention, I know Mamaw was probably making sure the Creator of heaven and earth was paying close attention to us at the service…especially because all of us grandkids were there for her.

One word among many to describe Mamaw is persistence. God put on my heart the parable of the persistent widow for her. In the parable, Jesus tells the story of an unjust judge in a particular town that neither feared God nor cared what anybody thought. And there was a widow who kept coming to him asking for justice against her adversary. The judge refused her requests for quite some time. And then we’re told that his character hadn’t changed at all. He still didn’t fear God and still didn’t care for people. And then the unjust judge says, “…yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!” I think that persistence and tenacity describes Mamaw well. The point of the parable is to show the followers of Jesus how to always pray and never give up. Always pray. And never give up. Be persistent like the widow. If the unjust judge grants this widow’s request, how much more will our heavenly Father do so for his faithful who cry out to him day and night?

Regardless of the waves of trials and tribulations, Mamaw persisted. Her love never wavered. They were always rich even though they struggled to pay the bills and never had more than bare essentials. Their family extended well beyond blood relatives and their house was described by many as an open house for their children’s friends and anyone in the community in need of fellowship or food. If food is allowed in heaven, then the walls of Mamaw’s room are covered in cooking grease and her counters are a mess as she is preparing a feast for Papaw when he arrives. Mamaw was persistent. How does the parable of the persistent widow speak to you? In what ways does it inspire you to respond differently than you have been in this season? Is there something specific God is asking you to change or do differently?

Prayer for Today

(Psalm 23 KJV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The First 15

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