I always loved Aunt Marty very dearly, although my time with her was always limited. We always lived several hours apart, and only saw each other at family gatherings every couple of years. But she was a part of my life. She saw me grow from infancy to manhood, and every memory I have of her is a precious one.
I knew she was a Christian, and that she loved the Lord; but because I never had much time to spend with her, I never knew the depth of Godly wisdom that she possessed. But I saw a display of that wisdom on February 7 of this year. It was the last time I would ever see her in this world.
We were in her home town, Columbia, South Carolina, for a meeting on deputation. Had she not been in such poor health, she would have come to hear me preach that Sunday. She so badly wanted to see my children, Elisabeth and Judson. So, after church, we stopped by for a quick visit. She was struggling that day- it was everything she could do to sit up in her chair. But she was elated to see the children. After a few minutes, it became obvious that we needed to leave so she could rest. She kissed the children goodbye, and I helped my wife take them out and put them in their car seats.
"I'm gonna come back in and have a quick word of prayer with you, Aunt Marty," I said as I walked out of the room with one of the children in my arm.
My wife stayed in the van with the kids, and I walked back in the house, not knowing that this would be my last visit with Aunt Marty- and not knowing that she was about to say something that would impact my life.
As I entered the room, she was doing something I had never seen her do- she was crying. She knew her time on this earth was short. I sat beside her and prayed with her, holding her hand. After I said "amen", she gripped my hand as firmly as she could.
"You have such a beautiful family, Chad," she said.
"I know, Aunt Marty. God has been good to me."
The next four words she spoke will stay with me as long as I live.
"Be good to Him."
O, that I could live my life for the sole purpose of being good to Him! What power is in those four words! When I reflect on my short life, so many days have been spent doing the opposite of being good to Him. Those days are the darkest of my life. The best days have been those in which I have endeavored to put a smile on His face. O, that I would heed Aunt Marty's advice every moment of every day! May I live my life to that end.