Recommendations? Timothy and I don’t need no steenkin’ recommendations, Paul tells the Corinthians. The proof of their competent ministry is the new life in Christ found in the believers at Corinthians. “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God,” he adds. And he tells the Corinthians they are a letter of recommendation from Christ, “written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
Shifting quickly from the objective to the subjective, this is how I feel about our children. In particular, I see Diane and her maternal “ministry” in all three of our children. Our oldest, Tim, got his brains from Diane. He is one of the smartest people I know. The boy who was taught to read and write at a very early age is an articulate speaker and writer. I will never forget how Tim, as a sophomore in college, destroyed the competition in a game of Pictionary or some such English language skill/creativity game. His competition that day was Craig Bensen (Doctor of Divinity), me (30 years in journalism), and two of the smartest people I know, Bob Brunelle and Steve Smith. Didn’t matter. We were outclassed.
Yesterday I asked Joe what part of Mom he believes has been imprinted on him. He mentioned her commitment to education and diligence in homework, and I agree. One of my defining memories of Joe is coming downstairs on Christmas morning about six years ago and finding him awake, sitting on the couch – reading his math book! His stocking was untouched. Has any other child in the history of the world ever done that? I doubt it. That's one reason Joe was an honors student at the toughest high school in Vermont.
Diane was no wilting flower who could be told what to do. Well, neither is Imani! When she was about six she marched into our bedroom with a long “spear” (walking stick) in her hand and announced, “I am Imani Angel Page, Amazon Warrior, and I will be who I will be!!” And so she has always been, and God willing will be, an oak of righteousness firmly planted. Some of that is the personality she was born with, and the rest is learned – and I think I know who one of her main teachers was.
No doubt I, or anyone, could find fault as well. She was a hurting person at times, and at times hurting people hurt others. But there is great comfort in looking at three loving, growing, godly young people and saying to Diane’s memory, “well down thou good and faithful servant.”
Switching back to the somewhat objective – Paul’s appraisal of the Corinthians is a challenge to all believers to conduct all relationships as a potential “letter of recommendation” from and to the Lord. May my life’s legacy be people brought closer to the Kingdom by my daily decision to practice encouragement, blessing, truth-telling, service, and – in one word – love.