1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity denvieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whetherthere be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
My name is Kathryn Rappleye and Oleta Kimball Rappleye is grandmother. Her life is an example of charity. I’d like to take examples from her life to illustrate four of the definitions of charity found in this scripture.
1)Charity is kind: My sister and I were able to come home from Utah to visit grandma last month. In a weekend we saw her three times and each time we were met by her love for us, but were unsure if she knew that we had already been there. At the end of our last visit, we all walked grandma down to lunch. As we left her room, we walked by an obviously distraught and uncomfortable new resident at the Hallmark. My dad asked if we could help her down to her meal but she wanted to take care of herself. Grandma offered service in another way. She simply reached down and hugged her and gave her a kiss on the cheek and spoke reassuring words. Her ability to offer physical assistance at this point would have been low. But her ability to show kindness was unfailing. I always found her ability to focus on others amazing, especially considering what I thought to be great trials of her own.
Sister Allred, the first counselor in the General Relief Society presidency, shared her thoughts on charity in her recent General Relief Society Meeting address. She said, “When we have charity, we are willing to serve and help others when it is inconvenient and with no thought of recognition or reciprocation. We don’t wait to be assigned to help, because it becomes our very nature. As we choose to be kind, caring, generous, patient, accepting, forgiving, inclusive, and selfless, we discover we are abounding in charity.”
Charity had become part of Grandma’s nature through kindness.
2) Charity thinketh no evil: As a family, we knew more about people we had never met than about some of our own friends. But we didn’t know about them because of gossip or unkind observations. Grandma did not need to create intrigue by speaking in hushed tones about the imperfections or flaws of those around her. She always spoke with love and concern for the troubles happening in the lives of those in her family, neighborhood, and ward. She was concerned by the health or loneliness of others when her own status of widowhood had already extended past two decades of time and her health was in its own stages of decline.
Sister Allred quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith in her talk saying: “Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbors’ virtues. … You must enlarge your souls toward others if you [would] do like Jesus. … As you increase in innocence and virtue, as you increase in goodness, let your hearts expand—let them be enlarged towards others—you must be longsuffering and bear with the faults and errors of mankind. How precious are the souls of men!”
We learned about the heartaches of others because they had become her heartaches as she bore the burdens of others in the course of doing her visiting teaching and in being a good neighbor. She too could exclaim, “How precious are the souls of men!”
3) Charity rejoiceth in the truth: My grandma never failed to share her testimony of the gospel. She had hope in the doctrine that families can be forever and looked forward to the time when she would be reunited with her loved ones. She knew her Savior Jesus Christ and followed his example of charity. Today her grandson, who shares in her love of truth, is serving a full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As every time she spoke to us she expressed gratitude for a good family and for the knowledge and peace offered through the gospel she helped to build our own testimonies.
I’d like to take this opportunity to testify that I have faith in the atoning power offered through Jesus Christ and that all mankind can be saved through repentance. I wear black because of the tradition of respect offered at funerals but not because any sadness at losing grandma’s company here on earth can outweigh my knowledge that I will be reunited with her when my own mortal work is complete.
4) Charity never faileth. Whetherthere be knowledge, it shall vanish away: As Alzheimer’s took much of grandma’s knowledge away, it could not touch that which had become a part of her.
Sister Allred stated: “Mormon… teaches that charity is bestowed upon the Lord’s true disciples and that charity purifies those who have it.”
Grandmother’s heart was made pure by her continued practice of charity.
I was raised on cherry tomatoes, and oranges and grapefruit and along side the roses of grandma’s back yard. I was also raised on love and faith. My middle name is Lori which comes from my maternal grandmother’s name Lorena. The baby of our family is Erin Kimberly… her middle name coming from Grandma Rappleye’s maiden name Kimball. When you give an eight plus pound baby girl the genes of great size, you can be sure she will end up tall, as Erin and I did. But when you give a baby girl the name of a good woman, you hope she follows suit. Our goal is to live up to the legacy left for us. Whenever grandma would praise us for beauty, which grandmas are allowed to do, we would always say, “Grandma, we get it from you.” The last time I spoke to my grandma was on the phone a few days before she died. As Aunt Trish held the phone up to her ear, I told her I loved her and said that I’ve always looked up to her and hoped to be the kind of woman she is some day. If, when I am able once more to be at her side, and if at that point she can see in me a woman full of charity, I will be able to say again, “Grandma, I get it from you.” I bear testimony that charity is the pure love of Christ and that His love is made manifest through the mortal examples of those around us and that I had a shining example of it in the mortal life of the woman we honor today.
Moroni 7:47 reads, “But acharity is the pure blove of Christ, and it endurethcforever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.”
It is well with my grandma. May each of us live that it might be well with us is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ amen.