March 8

Read: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

As a child, it was ingrained in my person to not draw attention to myself. I was raised with two brothers and two sisters, my parents and my maternal grandmother. Grandma Echo was a woman who quietly raised 3 children and countless others in the following generations. She served breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. She did laundry for the 8 of us with a washing machine and a clothesline. She did all the heavy lifting when it came to the home, as both of my parents worked more than full time to put food on the table for all of us. She took on other children (cousins and neighborhood kids) after school and made sure we did all our homework, chores and were ready for bed when dinner dishes were done. After dinner, she sat in a chair, next to her lamp and crocheted or quilted, making gifts for her family members.

Growing up, I never realized how completely selfless Grandma Echo truly was. She never wanted anything new for herself, and rarely asked for help. She mended her socks and treated her things gingerly, so she could do more for us. She did all she did silently. She never saw us as a burden. She said that she felt lucky that she could spend so much time with us. We would never know how much she did for us until she was gone.

When I read the passage for today, I imagine the way that we are instructed to serve God is the way that Grandma Echo served us. She did not draw attention to herself or complain that we were a burden for her. I know we must have been quite a lot, as many evenings there were 12 or more for dinner and there were a couple of years when we were 12 living in 1500 square feet. There must have been real and daily struggle. She never showed it. Serving and giving as a privilege, instead of a burden is the way I strive to see my commitment to God, knowing that God has given everything I have to me, without reservation.

Lord, thank you for the example of Grandma Echo. Give us hearts to serve others selflessly. Amen.

-Bonnie Schuh