Editor’s Note: It is very rare that I have used material form anyone else on this blog, but here is one I could not pass on from my dear friend Steve Bailey. Steve is the outstanding preacher (and an elder) for the Mesquite church of Christ. He is also an excellent writer. One of the great blessings in my life during the past seventeen years, and especially the past seven years has been my association with Steve. We are able to spend a lot of time together talking about the work of the Lord, our families, and where we want to eat next:)
This article that Steve has written is about a wonderful Christian lady who has reached the century mark in years but she is still very young in spirit. It is a joy to know her. My prayer is that God would raise up more Christians like her and that God would raise up more preachers like Steve.
I first met her when she was sixty-five years of age. I was twenty-two and just out of Oklahoma Christian in April 1976. Our first ministry led us to Dallas, Texas, to work with the Wynnewood Hills congregation. Little did I know that I was about to meet a “fire ball of a church secretary” and her name was Evelyn Shannon. She would become one of my best friends in this world. She pampered me a lot, she got “on to me” some, and, I believe, helped shape me in all areas of things “to do” and some of the things “not to do” as a young minister! After thirty-six years of ministry, Evelyn and I remain close friends to this day. She is 101 years of age and going strong. On December 11, I attended her 101st birthday party in Lewisville, Texas. I spoke that day about her retirement from General Motors in the 70’s and how I was so blessed to be part of her life. I will never forget that as she briefly addressed the crowd with clarity and strong voice, she introduced me to the crowded room as “her preacher boy!” I am so thankful God allowed our paths to cross for all these years.
As the years have gone by, I don’t believe I have ever known any one person who has done so much for the cause of Christ with so little! Evelyn Shannon is a role model and an evangelist at 101years of age. Every day that goes by, she shares Jesus Christ in some way. She helps to facilitate a weekly Bible study with a group of ladies from her nursing home and some ladies from her local congregation. In late January she told me that she was working on yet another project. “I want to make sure the Lord’s Supper is brought to the nursing home each Sunday for the residents that are members of the Church,” she said with resolve. She went on to say, you know Steve, “there are people in this facility who still believe in partaking of the communion each Lord’s Day and we cannot get out to attend services each week!” I would not expect anything less from Sister Shannon. Guess what has happened? The Church in Lewisville now serves communion each week to the residents. You might be surprised to know that at age ninety-five she helped purchase macadamia nut trees to be planted in a foreign country! The macadamia nuts would be harvested, then sold, and the money used to help support young preachers share the message of Jesus Christ. What is surprising is that she thought she would not live long enough to see even the first crop harvested…five years later! Well long story short, she did live to see it happen. The crop was sold; the money is still being used to help preach the gospel even today. Evelyn helped to plant a tree, someone else watered, and yet others reaped the crop, and the seed of the Gospel is being sown again and again in Africa by other “preacher boys” on the other side of the world!
At age 101 she still gives from her retirement check and what little pension she receives from General Motors. She donates to places like Heritage Christian University, several mission points, World Christian Broadcasting, and of course her congregation, the Cliff Wood Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas. Evelyn says, “I want to do what I can, while I can, and make an impact on the world for the Church of Jesus Christ.”
Evelyn Shannon is still doing just that at 101 years of age. I visited her again recently and when I left her room, she kissed me on the mouth, hugged my neck, and told me again, “I am working on another project!” Evelyn Shannon—may your example be a beacon to others that feel their life is on the sidelines. There is work yet to do. Let us all remember what Jesus said “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest?’ Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35).
—-Steve Bailey Elder/Preacher Mesquite Church of Christ Mesquite, Texas
Dear Father, we thank You for wonderful Christians like sister Shannon and we thank you for great preachers like Steve Bailey. We pray that all of us will follow their example as they follow Christ. Help us dear Lord to be attentive to the needs of others. Help us God to look for ways we can better serve you and for more opportunities to tell the story of Jesus. In His wonderful Name we pray, Amen.