We are told that farmers don’t retire; they just make fewer rounds. Christian workers are similar. They don’t retire; they just get resourceful about how they can serve and they, “…don’t get tired of doing what is good.”
In 1981, we had a missions conference in our church. Several notable speakers were present, but none impressed my wife and me more than an 80-year-old lady from the neighboring city of Hamilton. Her name was Minnie Lane.
Minnie, who remained single all of her life, was the first woman missionary to share the gospel of Jesus in Liberia, Africa. She left Canada in 1926 with the Union of Regular Baptist Churches of Ontario and Quebec.
Minnie was not one of the primary contributors at our gathering, but she participated in a brief interview to share what she was doing in her retirement years. With quiet, but fervent sincerity she stated that she wasn’t retired. She explained that though she was no longer able to be involved in missionary work, she was in the ministry of encouragement for active missionaries. Her activities were three fold. She hosted and entertained missionaries in her home, prayed for them and their families and sent letters of encouragement.
My wife and I, along with our church, had already planned to be sent out as missionaries in the future. We were impressed with Minnie and thought it would be good if we could get on her prayer list. We shared a meal with her and she seemed delighted to bring us into her little fold. That began a friendship, mostly through letters, that lasted for the next 15 years.
Minnie’s efforts to serve the Lord continued. When she could no longer offer hospitality, she kept up the letters and prayers. Finally when she was bedridden and couldn’t hold a pen, she continued to pray.
We noticed the transitions and referred to her communications as Minnie, many, and then finally mini letters. When the letters stopped we knew she still prayed for us, until one day a letter arrived that was about Minnie, rather than from her. It informed us that Minnie had gone to be with her Lord and that her last words were prayers for “her missionaries”.
You see, Minnie never did retire, “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. 10 Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters (Galatians 6:9, 10)”.