As I think about “Sanctity of Life Sunday”, I think about some people in my life. My Granddaddy Neal was a pastor that was loved by so many. He taught his children well, disciplined them “memorably” and taught them about God. His life showed value in his service to God and to his family. His health failed, and I was younger. I don’t remember much about the last days. The value of his life may have not have been great in the eyes of many. I remember though that even though he may have not been able to call my name, when he sat down for a meal, he prayed to an almighty God, hands trembling from the Parkinson’s, giving thanks. I’m no where near the man he was, but his life had value.
My Grandma Neal served her family well. Always cooking and providing for her family. I’ve heard my Daddy say that Grandma’s favorite part of the chicken was the back because she gave the best parts to her family. She was a Pastor’s wife and served in the ministry with him. Many would never know her value because she gave up more than she ever had. Even when her health failed and she wasn’t able to live at home, her family showed how much she was still worth making a long drive several times per week to visit.
My Grandpa Bowers was a WWI machine gunner and a carpenter. He was disabled at early in life. He was 78 years old when I was born, so I think my memories were of a more mellow grandfather. However, I remember seeing him reading his Bible each time we came to visit. If anything, I think he taught patience, because if you ever played checkers with him, he made you at least practice patience between each move. Even though his health remained good into his late 90s, the world probably didn’t see much value in his life. In his last days in the VA hospital, many patients would have been restrained. He had family there around the clock to provide care in addition to that given by the VA staff.
My Grandma Bowers loved the little children and probably cared for as many as anyone in grands, great-grands, and great-great grands. You didn’t go without at grandmas. If you needed a yarn ball to play baseball, she’d make it. Family was her treasure. The last week of her life was not of any value to the world and it’s standards. God left her in bed for a week with hardly any life left. I believe it was because during that week, her family was in and out of the house as they always had been. It allows us to draw closer together as family during a trying time. For our family, that was invaluable.
Finally, a woman I never met. My wife’s grandmother. She raised my wife and was valuable to her life. There became a point when in failing health the world would not see her value. Even then, as she entered eternity, she raised an arm that had been lifeless and paralyzed to reach for the heavens. My wife knows the value of seeing her grandmother as Jesus opened his arms to receive His child.
And that’s the key, we are God’s inheritance, His treasure. Christ paid the price. He’s waiting to receive us. Our life is valuable. It’s often hard to see value in some lives when all you see it hate, violence, and murder from them. How can those lives be valuable? We can only see it through God’s point of view. The conversion of Saul to Paul provides us an example. It was after the conversion where we see Paul’s value. God said “…he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15 ESV)”. He was already chosen, Saul just needed to see Jesus. Maybe those lives filled with hate, violence and murder are also chosen instruments. Through Christ, they can be redeemed and be received by God as part of His inheritance.