Also see: Tim Ellsworth on Amber Mathenia
In this week that has claimed the lives of one popular celebrity and one distinguished Baptist scholar, the death of one young woman has gone unnoticed by most of the world. Ironic, since those are often the sort of people who deserve the most admiration. In this particular passing, that adage is true in spades.
Amber Mathenia, a 2001 graduate of Union University, was neither a pop-culture star nor an acclaimed seminary professor. Yet, in her 28 years on this earth she accomplished more for God than most people will achieve in a lifetime. She and her husband, Anthony, had been serving as full-times missionaries to Ethiopia for the last few years. The life of a missionary, of course, is always filled with danger and uncertainty. Yet, Amber was not called home to glory as a martyr. She finished her earthly pilgrimage when she and her two children were involved in a car crash while visiting family and friends in west Tennessee. The children were unharmed.
Amber was a woman whose life was characterized by a joyful submission to the will of God in all circumstances. She followed the will of God when she married a godly husband. She followed the will of God in standing by his side while serving the cause of Christ in Ethiopia. And she followed the will of God in the adoption of two Ethiopian children: Ellie, 4, and Isaac, 6 months.
As the world mourns the loss of an actor whose movies will surely preserve his legacy, and Baptists mourn the loss of a great statesmen whose publications will surely preserve his legacy, I ask that we all pause and mourn the loss of a godly woman whose legacy will surely live on in the hearts of those whom she blessed in life. Let us pray for her family, her father does not yet know the Lord. Let us pray for her children, Ellie and Isaac, now without their mother. Let us pray for Anthony, now left to persevere in the service of God as a single father and missionary. And let us pray that God might grant us the grace to conform our lives to the gospel with the same joyfulness as Amber Mathenia. In this way, we may honor her legacy in a way she would have wanted.
To live is Christ. To die is gain.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that monetary donations be sent to Christ Community Church in New Albany, Miss., where the Mathenias receive their support. Gift cards from Target, Wal-Mart or Babies R’ Us are also needed to provide for their children. The church’s address is P.O. Box 795, New Albany, Miss., 38652.