Quite a number of years ago, I flew across the Pacific Ocean and half the United States, almost four thousand miles, to attend a training program to become an administrator and teacher for a Bible study class I had become involved in and grown to love. I traveled alone and did not know anyone who would be there. Of course this was true of most of us who attended the training (and some traveled from much further away than I did), but that did not make it any easier. As my flight circled over Houston airport, my heart was pounding. I was nervous. I had been told someone would be sent to pick me up, but I had no idea who it might be.
As I disembarked from the plane, I anxiously scanned the people waiting at the gate (in those days there was no security and people gathered at the gate to meet arriving passengers). My eyes lit upon a tall woman with a kind smile and eyes that sparkled with something that made her stand out from the crowd. I headed in her direction, praying, “Lord, please let it be her.” That was the first time I met Pearl Hamilton, who, many years later, founded Disciplers Bible Studies.
I saw much more of Pearl during the week of training. I learned from her and grew to admire and respect her. I came to know Pearl as a dedicated Bible student, an excellent teacher, and a humble (though often humorous) disciple of Christ. Her words and example were an inspiration to all of us, but especially to me. I wanted to emulate Pearl, and I knew I had a long way to go.
On the last night of training, a dinner was held for all trainees, instructors, hosts, and hostesses. At the place of each one who had come for training was a card with a Bible verse. Mine was Numbers 18:20, words which had been spoken to Aaron, the brother of Moses and priest of Israel, You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your inheritance among the children of Israel. For many years I thought that a strange verse to be given. I wondered how it fit into my life - how it applied. Several years later, my family had moved to California and Pearl was called to be the Director of Women’s Ministries at the church we attended. It was in renewing my association with Pearl that I began to have better insight into that verse from Numbers.
Pearl started Disciplers Bible Studies at our church and I sat under her teaching for nearly six years, until the Lord (prematurely, it seemed to us) took her home. During those years I learned from Pearl about the Bible and how to live as a Christian. From her example, I learned that contentment does not come from earthly possessions, pleasures, and the approval of people. True contentment is found only in the Lord. As a Christian, He is my inheritance, He is my love, He is my life.
I was reminded of that this past week as I worked on editing Pearl’s study of Joshua and preparing it for digital download. In chapters 13 and 14, Joshua describes the land allotted to each of the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance. I want to share with you Pearl’s comment on Joshua 14:3, But to the Levites he had given no inheritance among them.
“Levi received special mention because that tribe had received no territorial inheritance from Moses nor would they from Joshua. The LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as He had told them (Numbers 18:20). What better inheritance than to have the LORD himself? Of course, God was with the other tribes too, but He promised to be with Levi in a special way. As followers of Christ, we may have to be willing to take less, to deny ourselves, to lose our lives for Christ’s sake in order to receive the special presence and power of God. Sometimes the LORD says, ‘You cannot have what others have, but you can have Me.’ Which would you rather have?”
Reading that made me reevaluate my desires and my priorities (yet again). It is something I find myself needing to do often. What is more important to me, the riches of this world or the riches of Christ? Where do I find my joy? How do I spend the best of my energy and my time? I believe my answers to those questions show the sincerity of my answer to Pearl’s question. I also believe these are questions I need to ask myself often and answer honestly. The ways of this secular and sinful world are so much with us and they want to invade our lives and drive out our desire for Christ. Will you ask yourself these questions today? We live in a world that is easily shaken (Hebrews 12:27) and destined for destruction (Isaiah 34:4; 54:10; 65:17). But in Christ we have an inheritance that is incorruptible, imperishable, and undefiled (1 Peter 1:4). Pearl would ask you, “Which would you rather have?” Are you willing to take less of the world for Christ’s sake? Are you willing to lose your life for Him?
With love and in loving memory of Pearl,
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.