Beauty is as Beauty Does

When I was a kid I had one particular "goin' to church" dress that made me cringe. I was 11 at the time and the dress—the height of fashion for the late '50s—was crinkly pink organdy, complete with a wide-swinging under-hoop. If I became too animated while wearing it, I lost my balance! Even worse, my two younger sisters, Carolyn and Diana, each had a matching crinkly-hooped dress. As you can imagine, trying to sit together on the front-row pew during a church service presented a problem.

Often we drove to Grandma's house after church. When she saw us coming, she'd throw the front door open wide and her arms open even wider, exclaiming, "My-My-My-My-My Lord! Do I see three pretty pink clouds moving toward me?" Just so none of her praise went to our heads, Grandma was quick to add, "Now remember: Beauty IS as beauty DOES!"

By an act of God's mercy, I managed to outgrow my crinkly-hooped dress. But one thing I did not outgrow was the echo of the words Grandma lived by: "Beauty is as beauty does." Family, neighbors and strangers often called Grandma, a woman of great faith, "beautiful."

I can't say that I can recall any of her features—teeth, hair, makeup, or even the way she dressed. What I do remember about Grandma is the gentle touch of her hands as she fixed my hair into a ponytail for school. You see, in my 13th year, my daddy died suddenly, so my mother and sisters and I went to live with Grandma and Grandpa for the rest of the school year.

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I can also recall the sound of Grandma's voice during those difficult times: "Your Daddy's in heaven; he's just fine, and so will you be." I can close my eyes and smell the freshly baked pies Grandma often made for the relatives or neighbors "just because." Grandma lived by the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Matt. 7:12, paraphrased).

Grandma had only a grade school education, having dropped out due to hard times. But her lack of schooling did not prevent her from learning the Bible—and from knowing Jesus. In fact, Grandma was so close to Jesus that she became a walking reflection of Him. Her ways were His ways.

Jesus was not too busy to hear the cries of blind Bartimaeus and stop for him (see Mark10:46-52). He was not too busy to pay attention to the tug on the hem of His garment from a desperate woman who had been in agony for 12 years (see Matt. 9:20-22). And even after hearing the painful news about the beheading of His beloved friend and cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus was still sensitive to the needs of the crowd, whom He healed and then fed with loaves and fishes (see Matt. 14:1-21).

The book of Hebrews describes Jesus as the express image of God (see Heb. 1:1-3). Jesus confirmed this description when He told the Jews, "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30, NKJV) and when He said to Philip, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). As the express image of God, Jesus was the walking beauty of God, touching lives and transforming them forever.

In these uncertain times, people need Jesus' beauty in their day. We can bring that to them as we follow His command to "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). Because we are in Christ, we are His light in a dark and violent world. And as we carry out His works, we will find the spiritual reality in my grandmother's reminder: "Beauty is as beauty does."{youtube}z8Y318e7Edo{/youtube}

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