Sunday, July 19, 2009

Eulogy for Grandma Bennie

There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.

An angel heard his plea and appeared to him. "Sorry, but you can't take your wealth with you."

The man begged the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules. The man continued to pray that his wealth could follow him.

The angel reappeared and informed the man that God had decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathered his largest suitcase and filled it with pure gold bars and placed it beside his bed. Soon afterward, he died and showed up at the gates of heaven to greet St. Peter.

St. Peter, seeing the suitcase, said, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!"
The man explained to St. Peter that he had permission and asked him to verify his story with the Lord.

Sure enough, St. Peter checked it out, came back and said, "You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through."

St. Peter opened the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaimed, "You brought pavement?"

The inheritance that Grandma Bennie left for her family can’t be measured in silver or gold. She didn’t possess great wealth or valuable possessions, but she left a gift far greater—a legacy of faith.

This legacy is far more than just a good reputation. It’s about having character, which is at the core of legacy.

You see:
• Reputation is what you try to live up to; Character is what you are.
• Reputation is what precedes you; Character is what remains after you have gone.
• Reputation is made in a moment; Character is built in a lifetime.
• Reputation is what men say about you at your funeral; Character is what is said about you before the throne of God.
• Reputation is what men think you are. Character is what God knows you to be.

Grandma Bennie left behind a good reputation and a great legacy of faith. I want to share both with you. This is the reputation of Grandma Bennie:

She had a reputation for teasing those she loved. She especially enjoyed teasing her sons-in-law and her grandsons, and they in turn teased her.

She had a reputation for finding bargains and some of them were found in unusual places. Yes, she was known to find curbside deals, and she was an avid garage saler, but the Dollar Store was her favorite place to shop. One time her son Gene took her to the Dollar Store and as they got out of the car Grandma slammed the car door on his hand. He hollered and carried on for someone to open the car door but Grandma never even looked back. She was already shopping for some bargains.

She had a reputation for speaking her mind. This past April she was in the hospital after breaking her hip. One day she was looking down the hall and her daughter Judy said, “Mom what are you looking at?” Grandma replied, “I’m looking at God.” Judy said, “Well tell him hi for me.” And Grandma’s quick response was, “It won’t do any good.”

She had a reputation for enjoying pepperoni pizza, strawberry ice cream and Hershey bars ~ and she didn’t like to share! On more than one occasion Linda, Judy and Janet cleaned out her closet at the nursing home and found piles of Hershey bars. If they asked her for one she would say, “No. I’m gonna have those for a snack later.”

She had a reputation for making the best Saturday morning pancakes, delicious coconut cream pies, and…well…everything else she made was overcooked. There were usually two choices at dinnertime—crisp and crispier.

She had a reputation for wearing hats, almost all of which were red. People always knew Bennie by her hats.

And Bennie had a reputation for being thankful. Whenever you would call and ask her how she was doing she would respond with, “I’m doing good. The good Lord is with me, I am able to get up and do for myself. I can see good and I’ve got a clear mind.”

Now this is the legacy of Grandma Bennie:

She believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and He was her Savior. She loved to read her Bible and would read it for hours every day. She could quote any scripture. She was a dynamic prayer warrior, which was a legacy she received from her own momma. Her children would say, “When momma prays, the flood gates of heaven open up.”

She had a servant’s heart and would help anyone in need, whether it be cleaning house, making meals or doing yard work. Grandma Bennie was very compassionate.

She was always involved at church, serving as the missionary president, teaching Sunday School, working with the youth group and helping with Bible school. She nurtured her pastors, prayed for them and even fed a few of them dinner on a regular basis.

And she sang. She sang hymns that were etched on her heart and mind at a very young age. In the final months, weeks and days of Grandma Bennie’s life, when she couldn’t remember much else, she could sing every word of When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder and The Old Rugged Cross.

Bennie Euline Hall was born May 23, 1920 in Roosevelt, Oklahoma to Ben and Della Harrison. In 1942 she married Buster Hall. He preceded her in death in 1978. Bennie married again in 1986 to John Harmon. He preceded her in death in 1995. In her younger years, she was a homemaker and enjoyed yodeling, singing and dancing. For the past 9 ½ years Bennie lived in a nursing home where she enjoyed bingo, crafts, gospel singing and going for walks. She was the happiest when spending time with her family. She had lots of friends everywhere she went because she never knew a stranger.

On Saturday, July 11, 2009, Bennie Euline Hall went singing and dancing into the presence of her Lord. The thing we learn from her life is this: having a good reputation is important, but sharing in a godly legacy is eternal. It is the thing that gives us hope of seeing Grandma Bennie again one day when we are united in heaven.


Lorie said...

Oh, goodness Cristina. Now I know where you love for Christ and your goodness comes from! Much love and hugs to you during this time of sorrow and grieving. HUGS!

katie said...

So touching. Thanks for sharing. Praying for you and your family.