Volume. XXXI, No. 22
Sunday, 27 November 2016

From the Pastors heart: A Mothers Legacy

Today is not mother’s day, but I want to write about mothers, especially spiritual mothers.  The word mother is more than its dictionary meaning.  It carries pregnant meanings and ample emotions in it.  I read an autobiography of the late Bethan Lloyd-Jones. She was the wife of a well-respected preacher, the late Martyn Lloyd Jones.  Her story and spiritual legacy deeply touched my heart.  I thought I should share her testimonies with you all.  It is a testimony of a mother and wife, a preacher’s wife.  The following stories are from Lynette Clark’s book, Far Above Rubies: The Life of Bethan Lloyd-Jones.  

This book begins with the story about Susannah Spurgeon, as all of you know, she was the wife of the famous preacher, Charles Spurgeon. His ministry was busy and his responsibilities were huge.  As a wife and also woman, she felt at times frustrated.  Her role was no less than her husband’s, and yet she was the greatest supporter of her dear husband.   She writes…

‘One morning, after breakfast, when he was preparing to go out on one of his long journeys, the room looked so bright and cosy that a sudden depression seized me at the thought of its emptiness when he was gone, and the many anxious hours that must pass before I should see him again.  Some tears would trickle down my cheeks, in spite of my efforts to restrain them.  Seeing me look so sad, he said, very gently, ‘Wifey, do you think that, when any of the children of Israel brought a lamb to the Lord’s altar as an offering to him, they stood and wept over it when they had seen it laid there?’ ‘Why, no!’ I replied, startled by his strange question, ‘certainly not; the Lord would not have been pleased with an offering reluctantly given.’  ‘Well,’ he said tenderly, ‘don’t you see, you are giving me to God, in letting me go to preach the gospel to poor sinners, and do you think he likes to see you cry over your sacrifice?’  Could ever a rebuke have been more sweetly and graciously given?  It sank deep into my heart, carrying comfort with it, and, thenceforward, when I parted with him, the tears were scarcely ever allowed to show themselves, or if a stray one or two dared to run over the boundaries, he would say, ‘What! crying over your lamb, wifey!’ and this reminder would quickly dry them up, and bring a smile in their place” (Kindle Locations 113-120).

The followings are the testimonies of Mrs. Lloyd Jones’ children.  I thought they were quite extraordinary and good lessons to all of us.  

Her daughter, Elizabeth—Mrs Catherwood—says: “It’s difficult to know where to begin because as far as I am concerned, there could not have been a better mother.  Perhaps the best thing I can do is just to enumerate some of her many sterling qualities.

She was a very practical person. Although she maintained that she disliked cooking, she was actually a very good cook, but what she really enjoyed was cleaning—especially dusting!  If she knew visitors were coming, a mini spring-clean would take place while we girls grumbled at the fuss! But it instilled good habits in us.  

She loved everything to do with language and words.  So when travelling abroad she always enjoyed comparing the words used for the same thing in different languages . . . We always played Lexicon as a family. She was a good storyteller too—stories about her childhood in Harrow and Newcastle Emlyn; and she could also make up stories—when I had measles, aged six, she kept me going with daily instalments of a story about two little girls and their daily doings.

She had a strong sense of humour which often diffused difficult situations and gave us a sense of perspective.

Perhaps one of her most outstanding characteristics was her wisdom.  This was of inestimable value to her family—husband as well as children—and I myself owe very much because of this.  When I was walking in ‘the slippery paths of youth’ I would consult her and was always grateful for her balanced advice.  This gift of hers was invaluable, too, in her role as minister’s wife.  All kinds of people would seek her advice about all manner of things and found her a great listener full of practical and wise counsel. She spent all day Sunday at Westminster Chapel (where she had an afternoon Women’s Bible Class) and over lunch and tea and at the end of services she was always available to all who wanted to speak to her.  

She loved her Bible (she used the same one for over fifty years) and was a fount of knowledge for all of us (including my father at times!) on the Old Testament—its teaching, its stories and its people.  The latter, you almost felt, she knew as friends, particularly Abraham.  She would always sit at a table to read with her Bible before her, and one of my touching memories of her at Balsham is of her sitting like that, reading with her head in her hands and with our old cat sitting in the Bible box on the table beside her. ‘Two old ladies together,’ she would say.      

At this point I feel like the writer to the Hebrews- ‘And what more can I say …’  Her great physical beauty, her insistence on always dressing well, her determination (she was a strong person), her resolve that her God-given role was ‘to keep Martyn in the pulpit’, her love for us, her generosity, all these and countless other things make me echo that verse in Proverbs 31:28 ‘Her children rise up also and call her blessed.’”

The followings are her grandchildren’s testimonies: “they affectionately called her Gu—a shortened, affectionate form of the Welsh ‘mamgu’, pronounced ‘gee’ and ‘mamgee’, respectively.”  “She defended her views stoutly against her grandchildren and … [Her grandchildren] remembered her silencing a leading theologian on a point of Christian doctrine.”  

Christopher Catherwood —Elizabeth’s elder son—writes: “My grandmother kindly took me to the zoo when I was three years old in 1958. I was going to take a ride on an elephant, but when I saw how high up it was I was naturally scared. My grandmother offered to give me a piggy-back ride on her back instead—and fell flat on her nose! . . . . Another clear recollection I have of my grandmother is her reading her Bible at our home—no one knew the Old Testament as she did. What a wonderful and godly lady she was—but for her husband’s unique genius, everyone would have seen how extraordinarily gifted she was in her own right.”  

Jonathan Catherwood, Elizabeth’s younger son, shares: “In the early 1970s, when I was a child, I attempted to read the entire Bible in a year.  I had been given a Bible by my grandfather, when I was ten years old, with an inscription, ‘… thanking God that he has already given you the desire to read his Word.’ If truth be told I was more interested in reading the teleprompter on the BBC for the Leeds United results than I was in reading the Bible.  Thus, my guilt-fueled attempt.  Alas, as often happens, I soon found myself sinking in the quicksand of names, genealogies and rules, which require a steelier sense of purpose than the child-friendly tales of Genesis and early Exodus. When my grandmother was staying with us, I decided to approach her concerning this problem. She was sitting with her Bible in front of her, a fist in each cheek, concentrating as she did on her daily reading. ‘Wouldn’t it be reasonable’, I enquired, ‘to just skip the boring bits of the Bible so that one can really get to the heart of the matter?’ (I was hoping that the phrase ‘… getting to the heart of the matter …’ would prompt an immediate license to skip most books.) ‘But Johnny’, she said, ‘We’re going to meet all these people one day.  What are you going to do when you meet …’ and here she paused to…”

Having read her life story, of course, I was thinking about my wife (mother and pastor’s wife), my life, children, church, people around me, and wondering what sort of testimonies will be made by my loved ones after I go into eternity.  What testimonies will you leave behind you?  It is a good time to sit down and think it through.  May God be glorified in and through us!

Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Bros Danny Chu, Edwin D’Mello & Daniel Ki. Helpers next week: Bro Kevin Low; Sisters Jen Xin Li & Jun Lin.
*Cambodia Missions, 13 - 21 Feb 2017. Anyone interested to go, please see Elder Michael D Lee.
*Offering collection today will be given to Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions unless designated as Tithes, Missions, etc.
*Hour of Christmas Carols & Hymns will be held next Sunday. Please bring a plate of food to share & inform Elder David or Sis Piah Buey Yeo if you are able to contribute.
*No Neighbourhood Bible Study till end of Jan 2017.
*No Adult Sunday School next Lord’s Day. 

Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: All arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Church activities in the past week.
Improvement in health: Sis Julie Tan.

Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Rev George van Buuren; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); & others in affliction.
God’s comfort to Sis Nita Chong & family on the home-going of her sister-in-law in Melbourne.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry - VBS in Batu Pahat, Malaysia.
Cambodia Missions.
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for Task Force & congregation.
Rev Alfred Ngoma - Chaplain work; Mrs Ruth and Sis Thoko Ngoma as they prepare to move to Wagga Wagga.
God’s guidance for our theological students next year - Dn Sung Hyun Ma & Bro Kevin Low.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
God’s guidance for Covenant, Ebenezer, Hope & Providence BPCs to form an Australian B-P Presbytery.
Journey mercies: All who are travelling.
Safety in pregnancy: Sis Tabitha Tan.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Exam preparation for university students.
God’s guidance for trouble-free settlement of new church on 20 Jan 2017.
Australia - Salvation of Australians & for our politicians not to pass any legislation that is against God’s Law.
Jobs - Those seeking for employment.
Unity of doctrine & fellowship in Hope BPC.
Victims of earthquake in Japan & New Zealand.



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