My dear friend, Sister Ellis, has joyfully entered into the arms of her Savior this morning! She has finished the race set before. She was faithful to the end. Oh how I will miss her. I am so thankful for her example and her friendship. She taught by example and impacted my life.
Sister Ellis turned 94 years old on the 4th of July. The tribute I wrote below was written seven years ago and I believe the picture was taken in her home about that time, too. I wish you could have known her for you would have loved her, too.
If you look very close at the lovely grey haired beauty above you will see one of the truest examples of a Titus 2 woman! And if you listen very closely you will hear Jesus spilling out through her words and actions to everyone she meets.
I met Sister Ellis over 25 years ago at a little country church. She was the WM (Women's Missions) leader to a small group of women who started out meeting at the church. As she grew older the meetings began meeting in her home. Her women made quilts for missionaries and the needy in our church and community. The quilts were also sent to Mexico and other states and even to Romania. Sister Ellis continued to hold meetings in her home past the age of 87 years old! Imagine that! How many 87 year olds do you know that are actively serving Christ? We would gather for lunch after we worked on the quilts. Sister Ellis would finish with a devotional and prayer. I was a part of these meetings for many years and hold the memories close to my heart.
Sister Ellis loves her own children and grandchildren. Her family and home are very important to her and she does not neglect them. But, her service to the Lord does not stop with her family. She also uses her home as a outpouring of ministry to those in her neighborhood, church and beyond. If we look at the scriptures describing the duties of a godly woman you will see that it not only includes her husband and children but she is also commanded to use her spiritual gifts to minister to the body of Christ, to make disciples, to feed the hungry and help the poor, to visit the orphans and widows in their distress, care for the affliction and show hospitality. (This list is not exhaustive to say the least.) She is to be known by others as being a woman of 'good works'. (1 Timothy 5:9-10, James 1:27, 1 Cor. 12, Mt. 28:19-20) This is the life my friend has lived. She has a reputation for good works.
Sister Ellis rarely leaves her home, except for family and church functions, yet her influence has reached around the world. Many of us lovingly refer to her home as the 'hospitality house'. You never know who will show up to visit her in a days time. No matter when you stop by you will always be welcomed to sit down for a cup of coffee and a homemade goodie.
Sister Ellis cares about the interest of Christ and others.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests , but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:4
They all seek their own interests ,not those of Jesus Christ. Phil 2:21
I found the following quote in a book called, All the Women of the Bible. It reminds me so much of my friend.
".. it is encouraging to know that there are those Christian women - spinsters, wives and mothers - who strive to keep themselves unspotted from the world. Books are not written about their true love, loyalty, sacrifice and uncomplaining days. These precious women are writing their history in the lives of those around them whom they love and serve. Although, often weary in their task - for theirs is no forty-hour week job - they are never weary OF their task. They spend their lives unknown by the world in their narrow circle of their home within which they labor unceasingly for God and others, but they will not lose their reward. God's eye is upon them as they live out their lives in the orbit of His will amid all the cares, trials and sorrows of the home. One day, when the books are opened, their devotion will be commended by Him who sees and knows all."
This is the legacy Sister Ellis left behind. She will be missed more than words can express.