In the apartment where I live, there is this dear elderly lady who waves at me almost every morning before I go to work. If I am within earshot, she would always say, “Good morning Pastor!” I’d smile, beam back my chirpiest good morning, crank my motorcycle, and speed out of the gate.
She knows I am a pastor. I knew she is related to the owner of the apartment where I live but I never really tried to find out her story. One time when I did a dedication service for their family’s computer shop, we exchanged a few sentences over breakfast. She said she liked my exhortation and that she appreciated that I recited the Apostle’s Creed.
Her name is Mommy Esther. Today we celebrated her 81st birthday and I was to give an exhortation before dinner.
I thought it was just a simple dinner but it turned out that she has a big family who flew in from the U.S. for vacation and to celebrate her birthday at the same time. Over the course of the evening I learned snippets of her story. She used to work as staff counselor at Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministry for 20 years; she has a younger brother who used to be a professor and pastor in New York; her mother was the first Christian in the family; she loves to worship; her doctor son married a doctor and they own the apartment I am renting; she is now a proud great grand mother of an eight-month old baby; during Yolanda, she managed to save a few of her precious Charles Stanley books.
As requested, I talked about the excellencies of Christ and the gospel story. After my exhortation, we sang her favorite song, Great is Thy Faithfulness. The entire family burst into a beautiful blend of worshipful voices. I was stunned. I just realized that I preached the gospel to a four-generation family of robust believers who have a rich and deep spiritual heritage. Shouldn’t they be the ones preaching to me?
All throughout dinner we talked of family members who serve in the ministry, the academe, and the medical field. We talked of her time at In Touch Ministry and I asked if she saw the famous Andy Stanley growing up. She said yes and she gave me a few anecdotes of her time there. As the dinner progressed I kept thinking to myself, “So this is how a multi-generation Christian family looks like.” My family is never like that. My siblings and I were the first to be saved in our clan so we don’t have a long history of parents and grand parents who served the Lord.
I realized the unique blessedness of a family that has served the Lord for generations. It was like I saw a glimpse at the God-centerd households of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The strength and beauty of it all is palpable.
I went home last night feeling saturated with joy. I want this Lord. I want this richness of grace in my family too. Thank you for using Mommy Esther to spotlight this for me tonight.