While taking a few days off, Polla and I had the privilege of spending time with Miss Esta. She is a feisty 92 year-old friend. It is easy to remember her birthday because she was born on tax day. I had the joy of being her pastor for nearly 15 years. Our friendship has not faded with time, and spending time with her was a real treat.
I could tell many stories about Miss Esta, but I will only point to a few as a way of encouraging you to take advantage of your years. As someone once said, “Do more than fill your life with years, rather fill your years with life.” Miss Esta has done just that.
In her 80s, Miss Esta decided to make a difference in the lives of young people. Every Sunday morning, she would go to the youth area and greet young people. Now when I say “greet” you need to understand she would fill the room with her effervescent personality. As sleepy-eyed teens came through the door, they would be showered with love and joy by Miss Esta. She was like a ray of sunshine in the lives of these kids. Many senior adults think young people don’t want them around. Wrong!! If you love teens, they can’t wait to feel the warmth of your smile and kind embrace. There are youth in all of our churches who need the medicine Miss Esta passed out on a regular basis. Teenagers light up when senior adults take time to love them.
One of the great joys of my life is to know that I have had a prayer warrior in Miss Esta. She believes prayer is not just another part of the Christian life, but a vital part. Many of us have been blessed by her consistent prayer support. She is one of many senior adults who believes in the power of prayer. I cannot emphasize the remarkable things that are accomplished through the faithful prayers of the Miss Estas of this world. Many of us who are on the frontlines will not know until Heaven the victories we thought we achieved, only to find those victories were wrought through the prayer warriors around us.
Miss Esta has always had a desire to see people come to faith in Christ. As we spent time together, she told about a friend who was not a believer. She shared Christ with her friend and asked him if he would read a Billy Graham tract. He told her he would, and kept his promise. Later, Miss Esta’s friend informed her he still did not believe, but appreciated her interest. I remember hearing her heart as she told us about him. You could hear her amazement that such a nice person would not freely embrace the Gospel and the Savior. You could sense the grief in her heart, but also the anticipation that he would someday give his life to Christ.
How awesome! Ninety-two and still filled with a passion to see people come to faith in Christ; still sharing the Gospel and witnessing to others. I want to be like Miss Esta when I grow up!
I share about Miss Esta for two reasons. First, to pay tribute to the many senior adults in our churches who are still engaged in ministry and service. These faithful servants may have retired from business, but never from the Master’s business. Second, to challenge all of us to make much of the time God gives us on this Earth. Every day is a gift. If the Lord tarries and our own lives are extended, we must never give up or lay down our mission. God can and does use us when we are open to Him, no matter what our chronological age.
Miss Esta has taught me much through the years. Most of all, she has taught me how to fill my years with life.