joycebankston.jpgby Neal Pollard

She was quiet and unassuming.  She normally sat in the back and left quickly.  She attended only on Sunday morning.  She always had her oxygen tank with her and occasionally she had her troubled son.

She was not a woman of means.  In fact, her circumstances were very humble.  Though she had attended with her parents back when Bear Valley met in the daycare center in the mid-60s, she had been spiritually delinquent for decades until coming back a couple of years ago.  Most of our congregation know very little, if anything, about her.

But Joyce was someone this church needed.

Why?  Because of her health and finances, she could not properly clean her house or mow her lawn.  Thus, some of our members and students went over there one Saturday during a workday and thoroughly cleaned and spruced up her place during a work day.  This mowing season, some of our young people went over and cut her grass and raked her yard.   Joyce’s needs gave legs and life to many to serve.

We needed Joyce because it gave the church and our elders someone toward whom to show generosity and compassion.  Individuals and the church both gave her help and sustained her in hours of need.  Each week, Carol Stephens took time to visit her or study the Bible with her.  Elders went over to help her sort through her affairs and compassionately gave her counsel and assistance.  Joyce’s needs prompted our New-Testament, benevolent response.

We needed Joyce because she taught us a valuable lesson.  Did you know that since 2006 Joyce talked five different people, some of whom were in desperate situations, into sitting down for Bible studies?  While none of these have yet resulted in conversion, much seed has been planted.  She often could not breathe and was virtually homebound, yet she had a knack for setting up Bible studies.  She did not have the depth of knowledge to conduct them, but she found those who could.  Joyce’s needs opened doors of opportunity which she utilized for spiritual good.

Not every member of a congregation is the picture of health, youth and vitality.  Not everybody has a spouse and 2.5 kids.  No!  Some are limited, sickly, alone, weak and struggling.  Yet even they have a profound impact on who we are and who we become.

Joyce Bankston’s body will soon be buried in one of our city’s cemeteries.  Yet she is not one of a kind.  There are others like her, in every congregation.

Let us realize how much we need such brothers and sisters for our own spiritual good.  Bless your life by being a part of theirs.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us