Editors note: Lee County native, Isabel 'Smith' White, a sister to my good friend Paul A. Smith; daughter to the late J. Manly and Fay T. Smith and wife to Tom White, wrote the following Devotion to give to her Church Activity Club. She and Tom are members of Littleton Street United Methodist Church in Camden, South Carolina.
DEVOTION --- October 15, 2008 Lost Property - Mother’s Insurance Policy
Matthew 10: Verses 29-32
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without the will of your father. And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth many sparrows.
Ecclesiastes 11: 1
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.
Earlier this year, my nephew Jake Smith of Bishopville was surfing the internet in the files of the Unclaimed Properties Program of South Carolina. He keyed in “Smith” and “Bishopville” and made a big hit. There are many Smiths in Bishopville. As he scrolled down the list, he found the name, Fay T. Smith; my mother; his grandmother.
Jake called my brother, Paul Smith in Easley and told him of the discovery. Upon checking it out, they found a life insurance policy in the amount of $250. It was dated March 29, 1937.
I don’t know how many of you remember that period of time but, back in the thirties THAT WAS A LOT OF MONEY!!!! The policy was not interest bearing but the company is still active and the policy was valid.
In my family, there were six children – 4 boys and two girls. Three of our brothers have gone to their rest but their wives are alive and are our “sisters of the heart”. My brother Paul lives in Easley and my Sister, Rouie, lives in Virginia Beach. Margaret, Ann and Mary Alice all still live in Bishopville. Because of health, age, distance, and time, we don’t get together very often but phones and e-mail keep us close.
As a family, we decided to file a claim. As the oldest living child the claim was filed in my name. The legal requirements took some time but were not difficult. We all agreed that, if we were successful in our claim, the money would be donated to The First Baptist Church of Bishopville. This was Mother’s Church and the Church in which we grew up.
We realized that $250 was not a lot of money in today’s world so each of us contributed what we could. Some of the grandchildren also chose to be part of our caper.
Next, we contacted the Board of Deacons of the Church to determine where this money might be needed. In honor of Mother’s birthday in September, we donated nearly $1,000.00 for the Youth Mission Trip to Montana next summer.
This is a story that evolved over many months and had a profound effect on all of us. Over seventy years ago, our parents, a young couple in their early thirties celebrated the birth of their fifth child by insuring the life of our mother so that their children could be cared for even if God should call her home at an early age.
Seventy years later, their grandson, using technology not dreamed of at that time, discovered this treasure hidden in the coffers of our state government.
A large family, living apart but close in spirit, was able to share their blessings with a group of young Christians who will share themselves with others in need. This will give them the opportunity to grow in their love of God and love of each other. It may be a turning point for one or more of them who will devote their lives in the service of God. Perhaps one or more of the people in Montana who are receiving much needed assistance will also give thought to help others.
Back to the scripture: God knows of the sparrows and everything that happens in his universe. Cast your bread upon the waters. Each and every action we take has a cause an effect. Perhaps this is one time my family, from early in the last century and on into the years to come had an opportunity to participate in some of the good things that will happen in the future.
Lord, we thank you for the love of family and friends. We thank you for the opportunity and guidance we gain through our Church and Christian fellowship. Give us the strength to live each day of the rest of our lives with JOY and GRACE and DIGNITY.