God knows who you are, and so do we

You probably didn’t know Sue Barrett. 

She would flutter around Trinity Baptist Church in Amarillo lighting up every space her feet touched. An encouraging word here. A kind smile and a hug there.

But when Sue’s name came across my desk a couple of months ago, it wasn’t because of any of those things. I learned those things afterward. Sue passed away on April 11 at the age of 89. On the exact day of her homegoing, she marked her 66th year not only as a member of her church, but as the teacher of the church’s 3- and 4-year-olds.  

Sixty-six years. 

Though she had no formal teacher training, Sue was adept at finding creative ways to teach the Bible to children. In a world that can feel tall and intimidating to little ones, Sue was a warm, safe place. She would sing happy birthday to them and send cards home telling them they were missed when they didn’t make it to church. She would frequently tell the children she loved them.

Because of that, said Melissa Raleigh, Trinity’s children’s director the past eight years, children—one generation after the next—became easily attached to her. “She just made them feel very, very special,” Raleigh said. “She was that way for her church family, as well.”

Sue was also politely stubborn. She drove her car until the very end and, when inclement weather would sweep into Amarillo, church staff had to beg her not to try to drive in. “She was just one of those people who was going to be there every time the doors were open,” Raleigh said.

No, you probably didn’t know Sue Barrett, but chances are, there’s someone like Sue in your church. Those men or women are precious to your church and they are certainly precious to the kingdom of God. They often do things nobody else wants to do and exhibit a faithfulness that is equal parts convicting and inspiring. The Sue in your church makes you say things like, “If they can do that at that age, then surely I can do that, too.”

You may even be the Sue in your church. One of the great things about the Sue in your church is that she doesn’t even know she’s the Sue, doesn’t want to be recognized as the Sue, and would probably be embarrassed to be recognized as such. The Sue in your church doesn’t want glory. She doesn’t hang around 3-year-olds for the glamour of it and she doesn’t do it for recognition. She just goes about her business, slowly and steadily, week after week, for the glory of God.

My intent here is not to exalt Sue—though her service is worthy of recognition. It’s to remind us to appreciate, both in our prayers and in words of gratitude, the meek servants—the quiet and unassumingly strong servants—God has placed in our churches. Their faithfulness should be a reminder of His faithfulness to provide us with all we need to achieve His purposes.

Those purposes are always eternal—so that others may know Jesus, and so that we may all one day stand before our Lord and hear the words I know Sue heard on April 11:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Digital Editor
Jayson Larson
Southern Baptist Texan
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