I have been a great promoter of the image of the “Encore” for the way we finish life. Like a good concert, we don’t want it to end, and in fact, we are looking forward to the encore because our hope is that the best has been saved for last. That works for the people in my congregation!!! I would like to make a clarification if you will allow me please. The best is saved for last but it comes when we believers breathe our last on this earth and wake up seeing the smile of Jesus. Encore! Oh yeah! Encore!!
The picture is of my wife Kathleen and someone she calls her hero. We met Genevieve in 1999 when we traveled to Poland with a few others from our church. We visited missionaries we supported in Lodz, Poland and they said we needed to meet a lady who had attended their church but didn’t get out much anymore. I will let my wife tell the story in her words as she did recently in a church service at Live Oaks.
“We had the privilege of meeting Genevieve who could not speak English so our conversation was all done through our missionary interpreting for us. She was a very special woman. At the age of 25 she hid a Jewish family in her apartment. She was engaged at the time and her finance’ was angry at her for taking such a risk. However she did not waiver and she hid this family from the Nazi army. Just like a movie script, she told how her refugees hid behind a false wall and only went outside when it rained because the soldiers did not come out and they were able to disguise themselves with rain hats and coats and umbrellas. It was a fascinating story and she quickly became my hero.
My first question to her was: How could you do this, weren’t you so afraid? and the reply from this tiny woman was “I could do nothing else.”
Then her story continued and she told us how the adult children of this Jewish family came back to find her and thank her for saving their parents’ lives. It was a great reunion and to honor her they took her to Israel to receive the award called “Righteous Among the Nations” The “Righteous” were defined as non-Jews who had risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. A person who is recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” is awarded a medal in their name as well as the certificate she is holding which awards her honorary citizenship in the State of Israel. Wow!
Then Chris asked her his question, “ So what means more to you, your Polish citizenship or your Citizenship in Israel? And she did not miss a beat. She pointed upward and said “My heavenly citizenship”!
Genevieve truly was a righteous woman and will always be a hero to me!” as told by Kathleen Holck
Genevieve was made of the right stuff and her words and deeds exhibited the truth of who God is and what His character is like. Let us prize our heavenly citizenship like she did and look forward to it with great expectation.
The sermon the day Kathleen shared was titled, “Homesick for Heaven.” Frankly, unless health issues or other hardships crash in on us, we aren’t usually very homesick for heaven. We have attempted to create heaven on earth with our money and ingenuity, especially in The Villages where we live. It is a wonderful place with unparalleled amenities, so wonderful that we can become so enraptured here, we couldn’t imagine anything or anywhere better.
Well, there is an ultimate encore that awaits those who place their faith in Jesus Christ and it will make our attempts to create heaven on earth look quite plain. Hear these words from Philippians 3:18-21. “…many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform or lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”
So just to keep the right perspective, let us look forward to an opportunity to serve our Lord in our second half of life, praying the best is saved for last, BUT let us not forget that the ultimate encore awaits those who put their faith in Jesus.