My grandmother won First Prize for …

Life is full of surprises. Consider my beautiful grandmother, affectionately known as ‘Gertie’.

Gertie’s grandson was struggling at school: her response to her grandson’s struggle? (You can listen in.)

If you study hard this year, once a week at school lunchtime I will cook your favourite meal and dessert for you.

Would a sixteen year-old grandson have to ponder this for long? A quick walk to Gertie’s from school and ‘Ah!’ meat pie, tomato sauce and mashed potatoes – followed by lemon meringue pie! What a way to encourage a wayward student?!

Who was it who sat her grandchildren down on a Sunday evening in front of a big mantelpiece radio to listen to a special program? Which program? More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. The program’s title came from a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The radio program’s sponsors believed that ‘the family that prays together stays together’.

One hundred years ago my grandmother won a first prize. What prize was awarded? A hint: it was for memorising a Bible passage. What passage? My grandmother won First Prize for memorising the Sixth chapter of the Gospel according to John! Now I reckon that’s fantastic! Her First Prize was a book Come Ye Apart: Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ. Her prize was to encourage her to continue reading the Bible!

Praise the Lord!

In my humble and unbiased opinion my grandmother won first prize for many things. What I particularly remember are her first prizes in encouraging a struggling student, promoting family prayer and reading and memorising the Bible.

Now, I know that we cannot all win first prizes like my grandmother. But we will all be remembered. The question is, ‘For what will we be remembered?’

For what do I want my grandchildren, family, friends, church and community to remember me?

For me personally, at my best, I seek to honour Christ and, with his help and in His grace, win a few ‘first prizes for him’. Therefore, I work at encouragement, prayer and Bible reading. Just like my Gertie!

BTW Bible reading is made easy this month with the Bible Society’s Live Light in 25 Words program.
Why not join me and sign up? You can also read the Bible with some Christians from around our nation.  I contributed 16 devotionals on the Book of Jonah.

I think my grandmother would be pleased. ‘Is there another serving of lemon meringue pie, please Gertie?’


+ John Bishop of Tasmania

You can also read my Tasmanian Anglican article from the October 2012 edition on their website here.

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