Anna: A Consistent Plodder 8/1/99

Luke 2:36-38

Jesus Christ knows you. Not only does He know you, He loves you. Today you are invited to know Him and to know Him better.

His birth was almost a covert act of God. Being born of peasant parents, in a innocuous village, in a unpopular part of the world did little to popularize His birth.

He could have come with regal pomp, With the herald of the archangel’s trump. With a peal as loud and dread As that which shall someday wake the dead. But for that herald gem The star that stood over Bethlehem Not even the angels on His natal morn Would have known that the Son of God was born. As was the custom of the era the infant’s parents took Him to the temple to be dedicated. This is where our story begins. It is a story to inspire all. There He was met by a wonderful woman worth your knowing, a true plodder.

The term “plodder” as used in these messages is used in a most complimentary manner. It means persons who have “stick-to-itive-ness.” They aren’t quitters. They encounter puzzles and problems and work through them. They are confronted by challenges and deal with them constructively. A plodder doesn’t have give up in his or her makeup. I would like to be worthy of being considered a plodder.

Some of the greatest achievers of all times have been plodders.

Beethoven, one of the greatest composers of all times, was totally deaf for the last eight years of his life. During that time he composed what is acclaimed as his greatest musical work, the stirring Ninth Symphony. Yet, he never heard it. Attending its first public presentation he had no idea of the audience approval until he saw them stand and engage in prolonged applause.

John Milton considered one of England’s greatest poets wrote his magnificent epic, “Paradise Lost” after 12 years of blindness.

See a dwarf-like cripple named Charles Steinbeck having to stand and lean on his work station. He became one of the most outstanding electrical geniuses of all times. He holds patents on over 100 inventions. An indomitable will guided him to accomplishments seldom matched.

Come now and meet one of the first female plodders of the New Testament. She should be an encouragement to all. Hopefully you will find her a motivating influence in your life.

Waiting there in the temple when Mary and Joseph arrived with the infant Jesus was the aged Anna. Her very name means “grace.” It is estimated that there are over one-half million persons with that name today.

Let’s learn from the Biblical plodder and respond positively.


After only seven years of marriage sorrow struck her young life. She was widowed from then to the end of her eighty-four years. In her youth grief gripped her like a vice. Uncertainty surrounded her.

Sorrow can make us bitter or better. It can uproot our faith or produce the fruit of faith. It can cause a person to turn from God or turn to Him. Her responses turned her scars into stars of hope.

She was aged, 84. Age inevitably robs the body of vitality. It can do worse, it can take away a persons heart and rob them of hope. The decline of the body doesn’t have to diminish ones spirit.

She was inspired to keep plugging away by three primary influences. She worshiped regularly, prayed often, and lived expectantly. This kept hope alive.

Abraham Lincoln said, “We are as young as our hopes and as old as our fears. I have known some old teens and some youthful aged individuals.


She knew the prophecies related to the coming of Messiah. Knowing them and being sensitive to the signs of the time she had great expectations regarding Him coming in her life time.

“Thy word have I hid in my heart” is an expedient today.

I heard it asked recently, “What is the most unread book in the world?” The answer, the car owners manual. Who wrote it? The manufacturer. The very one who knows the car best put in it information as to how to get the most out of your car. Yet, we simply want to get in and drive. You can and it likely will run well, at least for a time. You can get more out of it if you digest the manual. It will function better and longer if you do.

The Bible is the manual provided by the manufacturer of life, your life.

She knew the Scripture and knew when it was fulfilled.

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1).

Many “Far Side” cartoons fascinate me. One showed a game show in progress. One of the three contestants was God. As you tune in on the contest the host is saying, “That’s right, Wisconsin! And so it looks like God has 500 points while Norm, our current champion, has zero!”

It is a superb depiction of the wisdom of God compared to our foolishness. You would not want to go on Jeopardy with God. Anyone who contests Him is in jeopardy.

To be a successful plodder and have inspiration for life get to know God’s Word, the Bible.

Our life should be based on this couplet: God said it, I believe it, That settles it!

Imagine the young widow Anna when she first went to the temple. Hope ran high. Expectancy bubbled over. Messiah is coming. A year lapsed and He had not come. Well He will! Two years, no Messiah. Surely time would dim her hope. It didn’t. She was a plodder.

The only reason she had of expecting Messiah was God’s Word. That alone stimulated her unfailing faith. If she had your temperament would she have begun to waver and criticize God for not acting. After about forty years she might have had cause to give up on the project.

She lived ready for glory.

“Night and day” she was in the temple. Plodders hang in there.

Anne Scheiber was a 101 year old plodder when she died in January 1995. For years she had lived in a tiny, run-down, rent-controlled studio apartment in Manhattan which rented for $400 a month. She had retired in 1943 and lived on Social Security and a very small retirement check. As an IRS auditor she had not done well and the agency had not done well by her. Despite being a lawyer and doing good work she had not been promoted. When she retired at age 54 she was making only $3,150 a year. Her neighbors admired her thrift in her struggle to survive. She didn’t spend money on herself. As things wore out she didn’t replace them. Instead of subscribing to the paper she went to the public library once a week and read “The Wall Street Journal.”

Imagine the surprise of Norman Lamm, President of Yeshiva University in New York when this unknown lady left her estate to the school. The estate this plodder, Anne Scheiber left Yeshiva was worth $22 million.

In the temple Anna kept investing her faith in God. She never cashed out in the good or bad times.

Are you an Anna plodder, a day and night servant of the Lord. Faith waited ….

She is depicted as praying and fasting. Fasting is a picture of crucifying the flesh. Our appetites for food is a strong basic one. Fasting shows the ability to control ones appetite and that is an indication of a will to control all appetites. Galatians 5:23 speaks of self-control. It is an evidence of a Spirit filled life.

Without self-control she would not have been in the temple day and night for years.

Then one day it happened. Mary and Joseph entered the temple with their infant Jesus. In a moment we will consider her expression, but first consider her emotions. Has there ever been someone or something for which you have patiently waited for what seemed to be a long time? Such were her emotions. Then it happened. She saw Messiah and in that instance she gave thinks to God.

She “spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Vs. 38). She shared the good news. She was demonstrative.

Her many years of plodding faithfulness began with a single act one day. It resulted in a life- time commitment.

You can attest to your faith in Christ and thereby witness of Him by the act as your Savior.