Recently, I heard a beautiful story of a clergy woman in the Virginia Conference. Her name was Rev. Rita Callis. I met Rita when I served on the York River District. It was my first appointment and she was so welcoming to me. We fell out of touch and recently I heard that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and her husband was ailing so she began the process to put him in a care facility and to sell her house. Tragically, her husband died suddenly after an accident. Pastor Rita still needed to sell her house so she reached out to a young woman, Christine, whom she had pastored, a person who always loved her house. She had stayed in touch with Christine all this time and thought she had nothing to lose reaching out to her.
Christine and her husband were very excited that the house was for sale and they said they would take it on one condition…if Rita continued to live there with them.
This pastor, this recent widow, was able to live out her final days in the comfort of her home, all because Christine and her husband chose to make her a part of their family. This act truly embodies the servant ministry of Jesus Christ and Christian hospitality at its finest. It shows that people are more important in life than anything material possession we can obtain.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in all our material possessions, but it is our relationships that we have with one another that are one of our greatest gifts in this life.
I think this is what I love about the church, out of the generous giving of the congregation, we are able to take care of our members, and people in the community. Through the vessel of the church, we care for one another, remind each other that we are always of worth, because we are made in the image of God, and we help each other when we are having a hard time.
I hope you can become enveloped in the community of God this Sunday as we hear more about the servant ministry of Jesus Christ through the stories of Ruth and Naomi, and the widow’s mite.
Generous God, we thank you that you see us sacrificially giving of ourselves for your glory. Help us to not seek the approval of others or get wrapped up in the material possessions of earthly things. Help us keep our attention on the things of you, things that are eternal. Give us the words to share with others that they have worth because they are made in your image and no one can take that away from them. Give us your eyes to see all those in need of your care and your strength so that we can respond. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Watch the video about Rev. Rita’s story here.