By Judy Brandon
The year was about 1910. The occasion was the annual “Decoration Day” at the century old Salem Methodist Church in a little town in Georgia. The congregation had gathered for this special event. On this unusual day their singing seemed to ring upward through the wood rafters and beyond.
The table on the lawn outside was set for the noon “dinner on the ground” and was laden to capacity with the delectable recipes of the country women. Prize winning fried chicken, pecan pie, vegetables fresh from the gardens … it was all just superb.
This day was a time for reminiscing, renewing friendships and reviving fellowship. It was time for each to become conscious once again of the Christian heritage that had been nourished through the generations. Members in their minds examined their values one by one in the presence of those who had lived their lives in that small Georgia community.
After everyone had eaten, the tables were cleared and people moved back into the church. The time had come when pledges were made to support the church for the upcoming year and direction was given for the maintenance of the cemetery.
One by one, the fathers, as heads of the households, stood and made pledges of as many dollars as they could afford. The secretary dutifully recorded the amounts.
A 9-year old boy sat alone in the congregation and observed the proceedings. His mother was home with several younger children. His father lay in the little church cemetery behind the sanctuary.
“My family isn’t even represented,” he thought. “There is no one to make a pledge for us.” As one by one they continued, he thrashed about in his young mind things that were almost too heavy for a 9-year old to bear.
“I’m head of this house now,” he thought. ”My mother will expect me to do what is right.” With that settled in his mind, he slowly stood.
A few minutes passed before the moderator recognized that the boy had stood and wanted to speak.
“Yes, you want to say something young man?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” answer the boy. ”I want to make a pledge for my mother.”
In a crisp, determined voice he said, “I want to make a pledge of 50 cents.”
It was a serious time. No one smiled. The pledge was recorded.
How could the pledge of a small boy be taken seriously? The reason was that the reputation of the godly mother was so well known. Her patience, faith, and thorough teaching of her children was already taking root.
More than three quarters of a century has passed since that time. Where are the descendants of that little Georgia mother?
The wise man of long ago said: ”Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Is this Bible promise true? Yes!
The children are scattered over several states now with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Among them are teachers, accountants, administrators, musicians, business owners, and a secretary of state. Her teachings are bearing fruit as each child actively lives the Christian faith. The children in turn have passed on that faith to their children and then those children to their children! It has gone from generation to generation.
The world will never know who this little Georgia mother was. She never made the record books, didn’t leave a “portfolio” of stocks and bonds, never graduated from high school, never drove a car, and never left the state of Georgia. In the measure of the world, she probably would have been classified as “backward.” But she did something for her children that would live on long after her: She gave them a spiritual foundation that has guided them throughout all their lives. She left a legacy that will affect eternity!
We may leave our children much materially … yet the greatest thing we can give them is the knowledge that Jesus loves them, they can have a personal relationship with him alone, and he alone is the standard by which they must live their lives.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College.