The Last Stitch

Early 1980s. Among the many endeavors of the Women’s Missionary Fellowship was making quilts (mostly for Youth Haven Bible Camp in Kentucky and sometimes for others). L-R: Ina Orsburn, Monnie Dailey, Wanda Long, Nellie Rasmussen, Syble Hester, Mildred Moore.
In preparing for Monnie Dailey’s memorial service, I was looking through photos taken around the church. There is a photo of six ladies standing around a quilting frame. They were tying together a quilt that would go to Youth Haven Bible Camp in Eastern Kentucky, where children and youth could hear about Jesus Christ. What made that photo meaningful? Each of those ladies in turn laid down their scissors, needles, and thread in physical death after a life well lived. Until last week that circle was incomplete. In a figurative way, Monnie Dailey was the final stitch on their masterpiece.

A favorite verse of Scripture came to mind. If you grew up in Sunday School, you know it, too. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

As I looked at those ladies and that quilt in the picture, the phrase “for we are his workmanship” took on new meaning. We are God’s handiwork. He has made us what we are. We are like that quilt, a masterpiece not just to show but to be useful for Him.

Today, God is adding another stitch in who He is fashioning us to become with His final stitch from His handiwork we know as Monnie. You may not know that Monnie was the tenth of twelve children born to Marion and Ollie Shaw in Urbana, Missouri. Like the photo of ladies, Monnie is the last of her siblings to leave this earthly life.

You may know that Monnie has always loved people and especially her family. She has six children, eleven grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren. Monnie expressed her love for many years by sending birthday cards to many of the people that brought her delight. I often wondered if each of those cards was also sealed with a prayer for the recipient.

You may know that Monnie loved serving the Lord in ways that was helpful to others, like preparing food, serving, and cleaning up after others in the kitchen. She not only took delight in this behind the scenes ministry with those at the church but also worked eighteen years as the manager of the kitchen for the high school.

Does that make you wonder, “how could anyone find joy in serving ungrateful teenagers or scrubbing someone else’s dirty dishes?” The next phrase in Ephesians 2:10 explains how, “we are created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Don’t skip over to the phrase “for good works” without first stopping at the phrase “created in Christ Jesus.” That’s Monnie—she was created in Christ Jesus. What does that phrase mean? Anyone “created in Jesus” is trusting their whole life, both earthly and eternal, on the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ.

Monnie knew for certain long ago that the day she was to die physically she would go to heaven. Do you have that same assurance that you will go to heaven when you die or would you say you’re still working on knowing for sure? It is fair to be unsure because, as long as we are in this life, God is still making us what we are to fully become. While you are searching He is adding a stitch here and there to the fabric of your life, to lead you to Him.

How did Monnie become so confident of where she would go when she died? Monnie knew the answer to a very important question. Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, “Why should I let you into My heaven?” What would you say?

Monnie believed that Jesus is God and the only sufficient sacrifice to cover, remove, and forgive her sin. Monnie was only trusting who Jesus Christ is and what He has done in order to be in a right relationship with God. He is the only acceptable answer to the question “why should I let you into my heaven?” Jesus is asking us—He is asking you that same question. Are you trusting Jesus Christ as Monnie did, as the Bible explains?” Come to Jesus.