“Good grief!” (Please repeat those two words in the spirit of Charlie Brown…) I thought I was done shopping. I realized, much to my deep dismay, I’ve forgotten a few folks on the ole’ list. Bust…
Not to mention the fact that being Empty Nesters, it’s not like our dog can participate with us in our Advent Calendar. It’s cute, but it’s not chocolate either. Hubster and I even contemplated not putting up the tree!!! (Shhh, please do not tell our children.)
Well, in spite of more shopping to be done, I have some good news for us all. Last week in our Bible study, we experienced a Grand Finale from It’s Good to Be Queen: Becoming as Bold, Gracious, and Wise as the Queen of Sheba.
Fittingly, the last chapter is entitled: “It’s Good to End Well”. Our group was blessed to have not one, but two “Visiting Queens” who graciously came to impart their wisdom: Judy Russell and Jane Summay. These special ladies are still finishing well. We received a bird’s eye view of what that looks like.
They highlighted points from Liz’ book and paralleled them with real-life scenarios. They passed out slips of paper with pertinent Scriptures we each read showing us the wisdom we keep searching for is straight out of God’s Word.
Judy and Jane have been friends for nearly fifty years. Those of you who knew Russ Summay, Jane’s husband, may not realize he was an elder at Southeast Christian Church in 1966 when Bob Russell received the post of becoming Southeast’s pastor!
Judy and Jane raised their boys together. They also served together in several different ministries at church, serving alongside one another, as well as having gone to Africa on a mission trip together.
With Judy and Jane’s input, we tackled the killer question Liz poses early on in the chapter: “When you come to the end of your days, what will you be glad you invested your life in?”
Jane shared Russ’ instructions with us from right before he went to be with the Lord. He strongly suggested she not sit at home and feel sorry for herself. He asked her to please live life, to get out of the house and go somewhere with friends, and to love others. We have all witnessed her doing this and doing it very well.
These suggestions are great examples from Liz’ section, “Finishing well means living well.” We all loved hearing Colossians 1:10, “Live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.”
Our Queens both agreed with Liz on being thankful for the little things. Judy recommended reading Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.
Judy and Jane chimed in about blessings:
“When our eyes are opened to the many blessings around us, it frees us from drowning in regrets. Counting blessings helps us to more easily extend grace, forgive and forget, and move on.”
They also emphasized the importance of leaving a legacy of love for one another and for our Lord. Judy’s grandchildren had just been here for Thanksgiving. She said they had prayer time and devotional time with them, and they would ask to be read to or told stories. She said, “It’s up to us as parents and grandparents to be planting these seeds of faith.”
In the Study Guide of Liz’ book, Liz points out, “a thousand years after her death, Sheba was still being talked about, and by Jesus Himself. Another two thousand years have passed, and we are still examining her life…” Friends, we are talking three thousand years!!!
Then came questions for us all:
“In comparison, how long do you imagine your legacy will continue? Two generations? Three?” Ponder that a while!
Recently a friend’s father passed away. The most remarkable, touching scenario evolved after the funeral. While walking out of the church, this man’s great grandchildren shed many a tear. Now that’s some legacy!
So while planting seeds cost you time, there’s no price you can put on the legacy you’re building. This Christmas season, make it a point to build upon your legacy. This free gift will truly last for generations.
Another one of many verses we enjoyed was Isaiah 40:8 –
“Grass withers and flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.”
In Liz’ video (you can watch all ten videos via www.vimeo.com/lizcurtishiggs.com) on Chapter Ten, we got to hear more thoughts on finishing well. Our friend Sherry Leavell says “finishing well” to her means:
“Not backing off,
Going the distance and
Liz quotes Kay Arthur, who says, “We don’t get to retire during war time.” Wow.
All the queens concurred we must pray believing and trusting God knows best, in His time.
Judy brought up Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
When we finish well, our final goal should come from Mathew 25:21 where Jesus says, “….well done, good and faithful servant.”
Lord, please guide us to finish well. May we build upon our legacies, leaving your rich Word embedded in our children’s and grandchildren’s and if it’s your will, great grandchildren’s lives. Amen and amen.
‘Til next time!