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About the Writer:

Nancy chooses to look at life as opportunities to know more about God's people and desires to pass on His unfailing love to those around her. As a young widow with growing children, Nancy's life experiences are a blend of hope through hard times and faith that has moved mountains in her life. Her writings are effective storytelling with humor, biblical insight and deep compassion.


It’s The Little Old Lady From…Your Neighborhood?

By Nancy Hughes

Key Verse: “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents.” I Timothy 5:4, 5 (NIV)


Her name was Mrs. Wallace. Just saying the name – Mrs. Wallace – and immediately I picture that tiny little lady with extremely short naturally curly and seldom washed hair. A little lady with jack-in-the-box teeth that needed no prompting to pop in and out of her mouth at a moment’s notice. I can almost smell the scent of talcum powder that did little to mask the “old person” odor that we kids always knew would be there – and almost always was – when our mother picked her up on Saturday mornings to take her to town with us.

I admit that we complained every time Mother told us we would be picking up Mrs. Wallace. “Why does she have to go with us?” “She smells funny.” “Her socks are always down around her ankles.” “Doesn’t she have someone in her family who can take her to town?” “What if our friends see us with her?”

My mother would always respond to our questions with the same answers each time. “She is going with us because she has no one close by to take her. How will she get groceries? This is a good opportunity for you to get to know Mrs. Wallace. She is a very sweet lady. How can I tell her that my children don’t want her to go with them to town? Imagine how hurt she would be!” And so for one more trip to town, we would sit in the back seat and watch her and wonder…why she didn’t bathe more often, why her socks continued to rest around her ankles, what kept her teeth from separating completely from her mouth and falling on the floor of the car.

But something happened during one of those car rides: we began to realize what our mother was doing. She was putting God’s love into action. She was taking care of Mrs. Wallace the widow lady as if she was HER mother! We saw that our mother was living what she believed. Matthew 25:34-40 was not something she took lightly. In that Scripture Jesus was speaking to the righteous and blessing them for giving Him food and drink, for clothing Him, for taking care of Him when He was sick and for visiting Him in prison. When they question Him as to exactly when they did those acts specifically for Jesus, He replies in verse 40: “…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (NIV) She was showing us that when “the least of these” needed help, we should be willing to step in and show our Father’s love without complaining and without asking anything in return. Her unselfishness in being willing to put Christ’s love into action was a lesson we never forgot.

What are we doing to demonstrate I Timothy 5 to our children? Could it be that there is a Mrs. Wallace in my neighborhood? Or my family? The best way for our children to learn Christ’s unselfish love for others is to see it mirrored in our acts of kindness toward “the least of these” around us.

My Prayer for Today:

Father, please help me to never cease to look around me for those in Your family who need Your loving touch in the very simple everyday things. Help me to always remember that so many times others learn about You by watching me. May I be a mirror of Your love and compassion. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Find out the birthdays of the older neighbors in your community or at church who may not have any family living close by. Help your children to design coupons for (a) “a meal brought to your home;” (b) “a shopping trip;” (c) “a tea party time” (and you provide the tea and cookies). Pass out the coupons to each person and check back every couple of days to see if a date has been decided on to use the coupon.

Pray with your children concerning the salvation of each person who accepted a coupon. Have them write a note of encouragement to each person.

Reflection Points:

Is there a Mrs. Wallace in your family or neighborhood?

Do you need a “vision check” so that you see them through the eyes of Jesus?

What lesson are you conveying to your children when it comes to taking care of widows and others in need?


Power Verses:

I Timothy 5:8, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (NIV)

Philippians 2:4, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (NIV)

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV)

I John 3:17, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (NIV)

James 2:15-16, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” (NIV)

Copyright © February 23, 2006 – Nancy Hughes. All rights reserved.



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