Shirley Gray’s life seems to describe that of a saint. The 83-year-old mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother from St. Catharines, Ont. has given her life to serving the church.
She’s spent years polishing the pews, helping in the library, reading devotionals to people in nursing homes, and gathering women for a Bible study.
Susan Cayabyab, who leads the group known as the Rejoice Bible Study, describes Shirley and the other women in the group as “the most kind-hearted, loving ladies God has blessed me to know. They have a heart for helping others and think nothing of sacrificing for others when they see a need.”
Why, then, did this group feel called to study The Seven Deadly Sins, an audio series with discussion guide produced by Groundwork, a program of ReFrame Media and Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI)?
“We needed a new topic to study,” explained Shirley Gray. “I saw information about this in the back of my Today devotional [also produced by ReFrame Media and BTGMI] and thought it would be interesting to do.”
Ranging in ages from 55 to 83, the women’s group agreed.
“We’re a very diverse kind of Bible study,” says Susan Cayabyab. “This study has been very informative, helpful, and encouraging. We all learned something about ourselves and ways to improve,” she said as the group finished the seven-lesson study.
“We will never be perfect, but we are all on a journey to be perfected to be more like Jesus. This study helped us in that way.”
“All the seven sins are an attitude,” mentioned one of the participants. “It was important to think of these things and reflect on how they affect us.”
“When we studied envy,” Cayabyab noted, “Amelia Vargus [another member] went around the room with wonderful words of encouragement, relating each of our gifts and how we bless others.”
Even as the group studied the more difficult to understand sins, like gluttony and sloth, they learned from one another, sometimes through laughter, but always with support for one another.
When Cayabyab asked the ladies to identify how this study helped them grow in their walk with God, one commented that the study on sloth had the most impact on her. “Sloth does not imply laziness; we can be slothful in not speaking out when we see or hear something we should speak out against. It’s when we are indifferent.”
Shirley Gray shared that the lesson on gluttony made an impact on her. “Gluttony is about a lack of trusting God to take care of me. Many in the world do not even have the necessities that we take for granted. I think of people in the wake of the hurricanes and earthquakes.”
She added, “The [Seven Deadly Sins] study opened my eyes to new insights on different subjects. We knew what they were but the study explained them in depth. We are always open to learning more. Thank you for this study.”