Friday, February 26, 2010

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Back when I was a student, I had the pleasure of meeting Helene Ashker for coffee when she visited our campus ministry. She was really excited, she had recently closed on a condominium in the Seattle area--she always had been living in apartments and for the first time she owned a home in her late middle aged season of life. As she was talking about this with a younger friend, her friend commented that after all that she had done in serving God, she deserved this. Helene responded with a blunt "I deserve hell."

The rest of our chat consisted of Helene quietly praising God for His care and grace towards her. Her love for God was genuine and from the heart--there was no forced phoniness or exuberant gushing of her emotions. Her emotions arose from her faith in God, her trust in His word and her appreciation of the Gospel. When Helene spoke of God, she glowed. My hour with her was disappointingly short, but her chat with me stuck with me for a lifetime. I wanted to love God like she did, and she loved God because she knew He first loved her.

Helene also knew that there was nothing that she did to earn God's love and salvation. Her relationship with Him was a precious gift of undeserved love, and she looked forward to eternity in Heaven because of Jesus' dying on a cross, suffering for the sins that she was guilty of. This gift was indescribably more precious to her than her lovely new condominium. Her true home was with God.

Helene modeled more for me than I know. In a short hour, she showed me how one's focus and perspective is truely affected by good theology. She didn't quote any verses, but everything she shared referred to the Scriptures--God's word clearly was treasured in her heart and life. She influenced me by not focusing on me at all--she didn't ask me all about my problems and hang ups but pointed me in a direction up and away from all my burdens and cares. And the fact that she was an effective evangelist just by being who she was and loving God didn't surprise me at all. She would have shared the same things with a nonChristian that she shared with me.

Helene was not a perfect woman, but she served and loved a perfect Savior. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

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