Evelyn Matzko sat back on her exercise bicycle, looked at her mileage meter, then at her watch and sighed.
“Two more miles to go,” she said softly.
“Oh, this is so boring! I wish I could go back to riding my old bike outside as I used to do!”
But the streets of her new neighborhood in were hillier than the streets around her former home. Even slight hills can daunt a bike-riding senior citizen!
Glancing out the sun porch windows of her new home, Evelyn noticed the sun was coming up. A mockingbird sang, and Evelyn rejoiced in the Lord.
Suddenly she thought, “I know what I’ll do! I’ll refresh my memory by going through the Scriptures I have already memorized. So while she peddled, she did this. When she glanced at her mileage meter again, she was amazed to see she had gone beyond her usual routine.
Why, that was wonderful! she thought. Gone was the boredom. And the sights and sounds outside had taken on new beauty as she had gone through inspiring psalms.
Memorizing, learning and new insights
Evelyn’s son John bought her a stand to hold her Bible so that she could learn new Scriptures. After memorizing the epistles of John and Jude, she began Revelation.
“While I memorized the Scriptures,” she says, “I analyzed what I was learning and gained wonderful new insights. I realized even more so that Christ’s coming may be very soon. When you hide God’s Word in your heart, it becomes so real to you, and you see things you never saw before!”
Time flew while Evelyn did her exercise and kept her weight down to a healthy level, and still enjoyed eating tasty food. “This regimen has greatly blessed me and I feel wonderful!” exclaims this octogenarian. “I had an operation for cancer five years ago, before I started riding my bike. No signs of it now and I enjoy every minute of my life.”
Practical use for memorized Scriptures
Evelyn feels impressed with the importance of our being witnesses for Christ and finds her memorized Scriptures very helpful toward this end. One day she visited Marie, a neighbor dying of leukemia, and she shared the way of salvation with her by using John 3:16 and the Scriptures known as “The Romans Road” (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10).
Marie claimed to have received the Lord Jesus as a child. When her niece visited her in the hospital a week later, she was semi-conscious. She kept saying, “John….”
Turning to another neighbor of her aunt’s, she said, “Aunt Marie doesn’t know any John!” When the neighbor told Evelyn of this, the latter exclaimed, “She means ‘John 3:16.’ She wants her niece to read that to her!” The neighbor promised to pass that information on to Marie’s niece.
On another occasion a neighbor told Evelyn about her problem with her alcoholic husband, and how miserable her life was. “When he comes home drunk, I’m terrified!” the woman said. Evelyn shared comforting verses she had just learned from First John, including, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (4:18) and verses that encourage us to love one another. She also gave Marie literature concerning the drinking problem.
“I encouraged her to show her husband love and keep looking to the Lord and trusting in Him, and He would bring her through,” says Evelyn.
“Recently Marie told me that her husband is trying to do better.”
God’s Word a comfort and joy
According to Evelyn, the joy and peace imparted through knowing God’s Word has been a great help to her in living with a husband who has Parkinson’s disease, and who therefore is not always a happy person.
She rises two hours before her husband. “After exercising, memorizing Scriptures and enjoying a devotional time with the Lord,” she says, “I am so full of joy when John gets up that I greet him a cheery, ‘Good morning!”‘
Invariably he responds, “What’s good about it?”
“Because you’re here, dear!” she answers. Then he smiles.
“Then I make breakfast, and we have a pleasant time together,” says Evelyn. “I never get down, because I have God’s Word hidden in my heart.”
Evelyn Matzko was chosen “Sweetheart of the Year” by the 200-member senior citizens’ group to which she belongs. Twice a week she goes to the hospital to do volunteer service. She also serves as president of her Sunday School class and devotional chairman of the White Oak Community Club in Greenville.
Her sons, Drs. John and George Matzko, are professors at a large Christian university, and son James is a civil engineer with the Navy. She has eight grandchildren with whom she keeps in touch by e-mail.
“Memorization of Scriptures has helped my mind be able to learn other things more clearly, whether a play part or devotionals,” Evelyn declares. “By hiding God’s truths in my heart, I’ve found that I have at the tip of my mind whatever Scripture I need for any occasion. Reading God’s Word is good, but memorizing it is even better!”