Every church needs a Mrs. Bates. She was a willing worker who was under-appreciated and over-worked. She led the song services, put on the Christmas plays, taught the girls’ auxiliary, used her home for sleep-overs, parties, and all other events (she had an in-ground pool) and did a myriad of other small jobs that my teenage self could not comprehend.
Looking back, I realize that she was about the age that I am now when she was so busy at church. We girls thought of her as elderly, and we were highly amused at her singing. We felt her operatic style voice was out-of-date since rock music had come on the scene. I can still hear her warbling in my mind singing "I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses."
No, we didn’t appreciate Mrs. Bates like we should have then, but now I realize what a treasure she was!
The greatest thing that Mrs. Bates ever did, in my opinion, is that she is the only one that asked me if I had made a personal decision for Christ. I was raised in the church and was a faithful attender. I knew all my Sunday School lessons and could answer any question a teacher would ask. Everyone assumed that I was a Christian – everyone, that is, but Mrs. Bates. She is the only one who made sure that I knew Christ and let me know that head knowledge wasn’t enough to get to heaven, I had to accept Jesus as my personal Savior.
Mrs. Bates went on to live a long life. In fact, she is still alive over 30 years later. She cannot sing now, nor even talk. But she has many good memories of a life of service for her Lord. I’m sure one day she’ll hear:
"Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' " (Matthew 25:21 NIV).
Do you know someone like Mrs. Bates? Please share, I'd love to read about other faithful workers for Christ.
(Since this post was published, Sister Bates has went home to be with the Lord.)
I'm entering this post in Sarah Bessey's Patron Saint and Spiritual Midwives series because I consider Mrs. Bates key in my spiritual birth.
You can read about more patron saints at Sarah's blog, sarah bessey.