An unassuming mentor

Pastor Doug Addington, West Hills Presbyterian Church
Jan. 27, 2014 @ 10:15 AM

We all have people in our lives who have formed us. Some have taught us valuable lessons. Some have kept us from making foolish choices. Some have modeled good behavior before us. Some have given us wise counsel at critical moments. Some have loved us when we felt unloved. The fortunate ones have all this in one person. I am one of them, and that one person was my grandmother, Osa Addington, who entered into her eternal reward Jan. 8, 2014.

Grandma asked me several years ago to lead her funeral, and reminded me one week prior to her passing that it was to be a celebration. I was able to keep that promise, and we did indeed celebrate God’s goodness to us in the life of this woman. As I said that day, God’s gift of her to us shows how deeply and personally he loves us.

She chose the Scripture I was to use, from the fourth chapter of 2 Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

I can only imagine the wide, beaming smile on the face of her Lord Jesus as he welcomed her into her reward! She brought joy to her heavenly Father’s heart by the way she represented him so well in this life. She was a faithful woman in every area of her life. And she brought joy to so many others because her heart was full of joy.

By joy I do not mean giddy happiness, but that bedrock assurance that no matter how hard life may be, God loves me and is taking care of me. Grandma had so much joy, because she had so much opportunity to lean on God alone and find him altogether trustworthy, altogether good, altogether loving. She wrote in a journal a few years ago, “Good days and bad days, but I’m still making it. God has never disappointed me, not once.”

Her life was defined by her God’s faithful love, not her sufferings. His love captured her heart, and that is why she was faithful and joyful. Because she knew the power of that love in her own life, she was always expressing it, always sharing it, always pouring it into the lives of others.

You know how true heroes never say they are heroes, they were just doing what anyone else would do in that situation? That is exactly the way Grandma lived. She never saw herself as anything special (and in one sense she was not — she was just an ordinary woman). What made her special was the extraordinary God who lived his life through this unassuming mentor to countless people, showing us his heart in flesh and blood daily living.