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ONe to one: the reincarnation of lazarus' sisters

by Keith Burden, executive secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists

This June marks the tenth anniversary of her death. She was an extraordinary Christian. I’ve never met anyone quite like her. Her name was Marguerite.

She had two qualities every pastor admires in a parishioner. One was her passion as a worker. She was like an unpaid staff member. No job was too big or too small. She was as happy cleaning the church as she was directing the church choir.

When workdays were scheduled, she was one of the first to arrive. She was eager to do her part, whether it was sewing dresses for teen choirgirls or knocking on doors for church visitation. Countless children committed their lives to Christ because she taught after-school Good News Clubs in relative obscurity.

Comforting the grieving was one of her specialties. Heaven only knows how much food she prepared for bereaved families through the years. This woman had an incredible capacity for compassion. She went above and beyond the call of duty to care for her elderly aunt and parents until they died. Numerous missionaries, evangelists, and pastors had the unique privilege of putting their feet under her table to enjoy a delicious meal.

She served as a Woman’s Auxiliary officer at every level and was selected to be the first female Trustee Board member of Hillsdale FWB College. It’s not surprising each of her four children attended that school. She and her generous husband faithfully supported every phase of denominational work.

Another admirable quality was her passion for worship. She had an insatiable appetite for the Word of God and was an outstanding Sunday school teacher. She felt as much at home discussing the Bible among a group of preachers as most women do exchanging recipes.

Her heart was uncommonly tender. Tears often trickled down her face as she sat on the front pew, totally absorbed in the music and the message. I became a better preacher because she sat in the congregation.

She reminded me of Lazarus’ sisters—Martha and Mary. Martha had a servant’s heart. She received great satisfaction by serving others in her home. Mary, on the other hand, was a student. Her favorite activity was sitting at Jesus’ feet, hearing His word. Martha found pleasure in working . . . Mary received fulfillment through worship.

Marguerite was the reincarnation of Lazarus’ sisters. She embodied the best qualities of both Martha and Mary: a servant’s heart and a sensitive spirit. Although she has been gone ten years, the legacy she left continues to impact the kingdom today.

You can find many Marguerites among Free Will Baptists—men and women who routinely go above and beyond the call of duty in their local church. ONE Magazine salutes these unsung heroes.




©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists