Karen Griffith

Andy Robison

From September 21, 1942, to February 8, 2004, this world was graced by the presence of Karen Elizabeth Sellers Griffith. On February 10, a procession of mourners constituted a constant line to the door of the funeral home during the five hours of her viewing. Her February 11 funeral service, officiated by four gospel preachers, had easily over two hundred in attendance. The reason for such a torrent of admirers is simple: her godly, selfless living.

Karen, in her commitment to the Lord and His ways, would take on whatever task necessary to serve any and all around her. Her home was a harbor of hospitality for not only her family and friends, but also for her children's growing schoolmates, church groups young and old, visitors from afar, and even preachers for weeks and months at a time. She worked diligently in the churchto teach the young, nurse the elderly, feed the hungry, and provide for the needy. She, as New Testament Barnabas, was a model of encouragement. She could do all things through Christ who strengthened her, and she made her brothers and sisters in Christ believe they could, too.

So, we who knew her share in much more than our grief. We share in one of the highest privileges ever known to humanityto have known Karen Griffith. By virtue of the Lord's decree that the greatest of His people would be the servant of all, Karen distinguished herself as one of the greatest people of all time. She lived to serve her Lord by serving other people. Her complete selflessness was evident in every aspect of her life. One is not only reminded, but also overwhelmed by the comparison of her life with the Holy Spirit's designation of the worthy woman in Proverbs 31. In particular, regarding her work and compassion, "She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. {20} She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy." (Proverbs 31:19-20).

As hard as she worked to serve everyone around her, no one was more important to her than her family. She was an excellent wife to her Christian husband, Jim. She gave the highest priority to the raising of her four daughtersKim, Kathy, Kelly, and Karlawho now follow in her footsteps of godliness. For a brief time as the daughters were coming of age and marrying, she was afraid of the loneliness that might fill her house in the absence of children to love. Then she was blessed with grandchildren, one after another. She so rejoiced for each of the nine, and they returned that love. Again, as per Proverbs, "Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her." (31:28).

The next verse of the worthy woman passage is, to me, the one that best describes Karen: "Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all" (Proverbs 31:29). What an honor it was to know this consummate woman of God. It is better than knowing any celebrity or dignitary. I'm sure I speak for many in saying that, should I through some magical means have had opportunity to know George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln, or any of the great characters of human history, I would choose a thousand times, instead, to know Karen Griffith.

She set herself apart by her faithful fulfillment of her rolesdaughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother. Many women have been honored by these titles, but Karen brought honor to the titles. Indeed, "Many daughters have done well, But (she) excel(ed) them all."

If all the preachers, teachers, elders, deacons, and all Christians Karen influenced through the years pooled their resources, they could have neither time enough to say nor space enough to record all the good she has wrought in this world. But, there is really not such a need. For the passage in our thought reminds us of what really praises her: "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates" (Proverbs 31:30-31).

Her own works praise her. They speak for themselves. Karen now rests from her labors, but the fruit of them lives on and on ... and on.

Let God be praised that we were afforded the blessing of knowing this virtuous woman. -Andy Robison, Rt. 3, Box 144, Washington, WV 26181. andyrobison@juno.com


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