by David Melton
Jewell Malone. You have never heard of her. But I knew her. Mrs. Malone was the first Sunday school teacher I can remember. I was four years old. She was already a grandmother. She wasn’t fashionable, she wasn’t famous, she lived in a trailer park, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t have a business card of any kind. But she had a role … teacher. That dear old saint loved us knucklehead kids, even a bashful four-year old with an oversized forehead who happened to be the pastor’s youngest boy.
Mrs. Malone taught me the Bible every Sunday. If she ever missed a single week I can’t remember it, and I think I would remember because going to her class was a big deal! I don’t remember the classroom or even much about the other kids. I remember Mrs. Malone. She was always dressed up in what must have been the best she had. She seemed to know everything about the Bible. And she sure knew how to pray. When Mrs. Malone prayed, I would often peek because I thought Jesus himself must have walked right into our classroom.
Mrs. Malone thought memorizing Bible verses was the most fun thing in the world. And because she believed that, she got me to believe that! She hand-made a little prize for memorizing the most Bible verses, and it was the first thing I ever remember winning. It may be the most important thing I’ve ever won.
Phoebe in Romans 16, Priscilla in Acts 18, and then that I Corinthians 14 passage about silence in church. I work those texts with students in my Ecclesiology class. It sure isn’t boring, it’s how we study the role of women in the church. But then there is Mrs. Malone. I don’t think she needs much commentary.
Mrs. Malone has been in heaven for many years. But if I have any kind of ministry – so does she.