Summary: This is a eulogy of A Christian who was a teacher for 41 years, married for 61 years, and was loved greatly by her family.
Eulogy Pauline Barnes
9/23/2011 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Eccl. 3:1-14
There are many verses in the bible, and when we come to the end of our lives, our obedience to some verses is more apparent than to others. It was a fall day on September 28, 1920 in which William and Georgia Counts witnessed the birth of their first child. They had taken the bible verse in Genesis 1:28 which says 28God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. We have all heard of the 12 tribes of Israel. William and Georgia almost gave God the opportunity to build on the twelve tribes from Locksberg Arkansas but they fell short just one child at 11.
Their first born child, was a beautiful little girl, by the name of Pauline. She still had nine brothers and one sister to follow behind her on a farm in Arkansas. She would learn early what it was to take what she had and pass it on to those who were coming behind her. One word that I would use to summarize her life is that she was an investor.
You will often hear people say, “when I found Christ my life changed.” But I want you to know, the reality is that God finds us. For Jesus said, “you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you that you should go forth a bear much fruit.” Pauline is proof of the hand of God at work in our lives, even before we are fully aware that God is at work. God chose her to make investments in the lives of others. She has been an investor ever since. She has been God’s channel to allow her knowledge and God’s love to be passed on as in investment in the lives of others.
Her investment began in the lives of her younger brothers and sister. In relating to them, she learned skills that she would take to her own children and to the children of countless others. No doubt her mother needed her help when it came to cooking for such a large family. As the oldest Pauline learned how to cook.
She took that talent to help out and became a legendary chef in her own right. I’m told there was no spaghetti, like Pauline’s spaghetti. The dressing that went with the turkey, was heavenly. Her chicken and dumplings were legendary. She invested her cooking skills into her children and those skills continue to bear fruit. They will say, “I can’t do it quite like mother did, but I’m pretty good in the kitchen.”
When you’re on a farm in Arkansas in the first half of the 20th century, money was going to be tight and buying clothes was not something that came easy. Pauline invested her time in learning how to sew to help out her mom. She invested in making her brothers and sisters look nice. She took that talent right into her own family for the next generation. Today we fight and argue over whether a prom dress is going to be appropriate or not.
Pauline did not have that problem with her daughters, because she was the designer, the maker, and the approver of the dress. She’d get started a day or two before the prom and have the dress done on time. Nobody was dressed any prettier than her daughters were. One thing about Pauline was she knew about fashion and was fashionable all her life. Her grandchildren were sometimes amazed at how on point she was when it came to wearing outfits.
When you’re the first born of eleven kids with nine brothers, you need to know something about how to invest your authority to keep things moving along. She learned how to speak with the oldest of the kids, and she knew how to speak with the youngest. She didn’t know it at the time, but God was investing in her skills of communication that would impact others in the years to come. She could speak with a sense of love and gentleness in her voice. Yet, she knew how to speak with authority so that you knew she meant business when she spoke.
We asked her daughters, who was the disciplinarian in the family, their mom or their dad. They said, “both of them were.” If our mother said be home at 8:30, she meant 8:30. If you didn’t make it on time, she would come and find you. You wouldn’t forget the experience.
Pauline was bright and intelligent as a child. You didn’t get the grades to finish high school and go off to college back in those days if you were not. No doubt she invested some of what she had learned in assisting her younger brothers and sister with their school work. She probably did not know it at the time, but God was getting her ready to have an impact on the lives of thousands of youth who would one day be sitting in her classroom.