Maybe the most under publicized character in The Help was Constantine Jefferson played by Cicely Tyson. When I saw the movie, it was her character that showed me the truth of what God wants of us. Oh, yes, I know the heroes were Abilene, Minnie and Skeeter but in reflection, it was Constantine that was the strength of all of them. This great woman of faith taught them all. Constantine knew the truth-- that women needed each other and that we learn from each other.
Her life was one of service…perhaps for money but I don’t think so. She found joy in serving…she understood people. Her conversation in speaking to Skeeter after Skeeter wasn’t asked to the big dance spoke worlds to my heart:
Skeeter: All the boys say I'm ugly. Mama was third runner up in Miss South Carolina and I just...
Constantine: Oh, you quit feelin' sorry for yourself. Now, that's ugly. Ugly is somethin' that grows up inside you. It's mean and hurtin', like them boys. Now, you're not one of them, is you?
[Skeeter shakes her head]
Constantine Jefferson: I didn't think so, honey.
Everyday...everyday you're not dead in the ground and you wake up in the mornin', you gonna have to make some decisions. Gotta ask yourself this question; am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools said about me today? You hear me? Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today? Alright?
[Skeeter nods her head in understanding]
Constantine Jefferson: As for your mama, she didn't pick her life. It picked her. But you, you gonna do something big with yours. You wait and see.
Here is real power!! The power of encouragement and of teaching those younger than us that life is not about feeling sorry for ourselves but in believing the truth. Here are a few wonderful truths God has for us:
• I am loved with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
• I am the apple of His eye. (Proverbs 7:2)
• My name is engraved in the palm of His hands. (Isaiah 49:16)
• I am carried through every storm. (Mark 4:35-41)
• I am wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
• I am watched over day and night. (Psalm 121:1-8)
• I am forgiven. (1 John 1:9)
• I am rejoiced over with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Women pass on to their daughters about what they think is important.
We taught our daughters:
- How to iron
- How to load a dishwasher
- How to get along with other women!!
- Table manners
- How to dress and talk
- How to get good grades so we can get good jobs
- That we should always look like things are ok?
- To not embarrass our family
- How to get the “right” husband.
· These things had been passed down through generations but what about godly things and the Word of God???
The Bible is NOT silent about what our legacy is to be as followers of Christ!! It is not dependent upon what society says but what God has told us very clearly in His word. God understands us better than we do ourselves and He gave a command to the Hebrews in Deut. 6: 1-9 (read) Verses 4-9 is called the Shema and was extremely important to the Jewish people. They were to teach their children morning, noon, and night that God was the only God and the only one to worship. Somewhere along the way, we quit teaching that to our children. Yes, we took them to church and Sunday School but at home? Leaving a legacy of Christ is more than just going to church. Today we are saddened by the numbers of young people who no longer go to church…could it be that we passed off our responsibility to others?
What else does the Bible have to say???
What are we to do?
Read Titus 2
Everyone is older to someone!!
Now, I am going to meddle!! We older women have not been obedient to this. I hear all the excuses:
- I have done my part
- They don’t care what I say
- They wouldn’t listen anyway
We have thrown our younger generation into the fight without any training at all and then we sit back and condemn them for not doing things the way they should be done. We talk about their dress, the way they raise their children, etc. but never once think that they have never been taught. Paul understood this. We gain wisdom as we get older.
We do have a purpose. The way we live will affect everyone who comes into contact with us. We are influencing someone and our influence will influence them and those with whom they come into contact.
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
It is not too late to change your legacy. You will not be finished until somebody leans over your coffin and says, “Don’t she look natural!” It might be hard…Satan will tell you that it is not worth it. But God’s word is clear that if we don’t spread the great news of who God is…then no one will.
I want my legacy to be that I loved Jesus with every bit of me and that I told everyone who He is. Today, become intentional in teaching your family but also those in your church. If you have trouble, then first renew your own relationship with Christ. If He isn’t everything, then He is nothing. Take care of your own relationship and then get busy building your His legacy of faith onto the generations to come.