A Tribute of Faithfulness
by: Dr. Allen Domelle
There are times in life when your heart is grieved because of a loss of a dear saint of the LORD, and this is one of those times. Last night, April 13, 2017, Pastor Bill Davis texted me to let me know that Mrs. Ruth Carter stepped into Heaven. She was 102 years-of-age when the LORD took her home to be with Him.
Mrs. Carter is one of those Christians who will be honored greatly in Heaven. Though I didn’t know her personally like those in her church, I had the honor, and I sincerely mean this, to get to know her on a casual basis. Every year when I preached at the Cornerstone Baptist Church, Mrs. Carter showed up with a smile on her face and attended every service because it was what she wanted to do. Every member of her church loved her. She was in every sense a fine Christian lady.
The special thing about Mrs. Carter was her faithfulness to her Sunday school class. She was faithful to teach her 1st to 3rd-grade girls Sunday school class for 80 years. Her pastor never had to call her to be sure that she would be there because she loved teaching those children. She not only taught those children through lesson, but she also taught with her life by being faithful to the LORD through heartaches and struggles. She was the epitome of faithfulness.
One of the times I was preaching a meeting in her church, I told her that I was honored to be in her presence. She embarrassingly looked at me and asked why I would be honored to be in her presence when I was the guest preacher at her church. I told her that I was honored because she had been faithful to teach her Sunday school class, at that point, for seventy-five years. She humbly thanked me for those kind words.
Like a child being in the presence of their hero, I looked at Mrs. Carter and asked her if I could ask her one question. She replied, “Certainly.” I asked Mrs. Carter how she was faithful to teach her Sunday school class for so long. I immediately pulled out a 3×5 card anticipating the great secret of how to be faithful to the LORD’s service for so many years. I expected to hear several wise statements, only to be convicted and challenged by her brevity. Her reply on how to be faithful, “I simply showed up.” Then, the Holy Spirit used her continued response to seal the sledgehammer of conviction. She said, “But, Bro. Domelle, isn’t that what we are all supposed to do?”
Those words by Mrs. Carter have been like a megaphone for the Holy Spirit in my heart ever since I heard them. The LORD said in Revelation 2:10, “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Mrs. Carter’s example of faithfulness should be the goal of every Christian, and that goal and example is to be faithful unto death.
Being faithful isn’t always easy, but the way you stay faithful is to just show up. When heartaches come and try to get you to stop doing your ministry, just show up. When a loved one passes on to Heaven, and maybe even a bit early, let the words of Mrs. Carter be your motivation to just show up. When the attacks of the enemy seem to give you a reason to quit, let me remind you of those words to just show up. When you become “weary in well doing,” the way you are going to stay faithful is to just show up. When others around you quit and go the way of the world, you must keep going by just showing up.
The reason you just show up is because that is what you are supposed to do. 1 Corinthians 4:2 reminds us of this when it says, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Faithfulness to the LORD is simply done by showing up because that is what we are supposed to do.
Mrs. Ruth Carter will be dearly missed by those who were influenced over the 80 years of teaching. She will be missed by those who were honored to meet her and to attend church with her. She was faithful unto death, and last night she heeded the LORD’s call one more time and just showed up in Heaven. Let me encourage you to let the testimony of her life motivate you to be faithful by just showing up.