Not long after we had started our church here I was asked by a neighboring Christian woman who organized services for a local rest home if I would like to do a service there once a month. I told her I’d be happy to do so. So off I went to the first service there, anxious to minister to the folks and meet some new people. After I’d conducted the service I went around to get better acquainted and met a lady who looked “oddly familiar” to me. She asked if I knew who she was and I told her no but you look like someone I know, I just can’t put my finger on it. She said, “Why, I’m Joe Paterno’s mother !” Sure enough, there were the deep set eyes, the thick lensed glasses, and raven black hair. Joepa was probably in his 60’s then so his mom, maybe her late 80’s. But to be honest, she looked like JoePa in drag, no disrespect intended to his mom ! Ha. I know, bad visual. Anyway – we were talking and I told her I grew up admiring her son in many ways. She thanked me and I thought our conversation was coming to a close, so I told her it was nice to meet her and I was going to get to know some of the other folks but that I’d plan on coming back. All of a sudden she grabbed my arm and said, “Where are you going, you’re too good looking to get away !” I had just been the recipient of a pass from JoePa’s mom, and not the football kind – It was then I knew why the thick glasses !!!
Yes, there’s a point to all this, believe it or not. Mrs. Paterno was proud of her son and she wanted people to know she was related. Those of us who live here especially admire his passion for his profession, his desire to not just build a good football team but good men. Are you really proud of who you are related to spiritually? Several verses in the Bible tell us that once saved we are in the family of God by faith in Christ. But let me share one in particular: “But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God. . . ” (Heb.11:16).
The context speaks of Abraham and Sarah’s faith and if you’ve read about it in Genesis you know they weren’t always perfect in what they believed and what they did. But typically they lived by faith. God had promised them a son, he was a long time in coming. God had promised them their children would be as the stars of the heaven in number and the grains of sand on the shore. But they didn’t live here to see these promises all come to fruition. Nonetheless, they typically were people of faith in what God had simply said, this is why God said He was not ashamed to be called their God. Translation: He was proud of them ! Despite the sometimes lapses of faith, though they didn’t always do the right thing, He understood their frame, that they were sinners, but He also took note of their love for Him and their trust of Him. Living by faith is a slow, steady trudge to the city Abraham looked for and we look for but when we live by faith God is not ashamed, He’s proud of you then ! So take Him at His Word and keep trudging along, when you do you look better to God than I did to Mrs. Paterno by far !!