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Thursday, January 7, 2010

WINNIE PICKETT


She would interrupt the weekly devotion at Hill Nursing Home in York, Alabama, by crying out, "Can you help me find Winnie Pickett?  Help me, please!  Have you seen Winnie Pickett?"  This elderly woman, a resident of the nursing home, made such imploring cries.  What a sad face she had.  But, who was this Winnie Pickett for whom she searched?  A best friend now deceased?  A childhood friend?  A sister or mother?  One of the nurses was approached to help find the answer.  With compassion, she said, "She is Winnie Pickett."

Why was she making such a request?  What a strange search, to be searching for one's self.  Seemingly, Mrs. Pickett was not lucid.  But, even in her confused state, she sought what so many choose to ignore.  For whatever reason she "sought" herself, she illustrates an attitude that should live in each of our hearts.

SHE ILLUSTRATES THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-EXAMINATION. Paul urges, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith;e xamine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in youâ€"unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5).  We should want to know where we stand before God (cf. Col. 1:10).  We should seek to know if we are walking worthy of the Christian vocation (Eph. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:12).  God had to ask a question of Adam that he should have asked of himself, when He inquired, "Where are you?" (Gen. 3:9).  The answer to this question, for all of us, is of infinite importance (Matt. 7:13-14).

SHE SHOWS THE CONCERN ONE SHOULD HAVE FOR SELF. Certainly, God must come first with us.  Concern for others preempts concern for self (Phil. 2:3-4).  Yet, Paul's words ring with common sense when he writes, "no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church" (Eph. 5:29).  The command of both testaments to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Rom. 13:9; Jas. 2:8) presupposes that it is right and healthy to love one's self.  If we have healthy self-respect, we will naturally love and respect everyone in our lives.

SHE SHOWS THE PROFOUND SADNESS OF BEING LOST. Her mournful cries are unforgettable.  At least in her mind, she was lost.  She did not seem to know where she was, and was afraid of where she was going.  From all indications, sweet Winnie was not a Christian.  How sad.  To witness the steady decline of a dear woman who was outside the fold of safety is helpless and agonizing.  But, every day there are healthy, vibrant men and women in the prime of their lives who look fine on the outside but who are spiritually dead within (cf. Rom. 6:23).  Though physical death may be years away, unless they obey the gospel they are eternally lost (Matt. 25:46).  There is no greater tragedy (Matt. 16:26)!

The remains of a woman was found on the hot sands of the Mojave Desert.  Her last words were preserved in a written note.  It read, "I am exhausted and I must have water!  I don not believe I can last much longer!"  The sad fact is that she died of thirst and exposure only two miles from Surprise Springs, an oasis that would have saved her life (Tan 1216).  Many lost people come in contact with Christians, who know the way to salvation and life.  They are that close to escaping eternal loss.  Will they die without the water of life?  Many are like Winnie Pickett, begging for someone to help them not be lost.  Let's keep our eyes and hearts open to these.
 
--Neal Pollard

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