MARIETTA – I recently had lunch with Mark Somers, a dear friend who is pastor of Noonday Baptist Church in Marietta. Mark is a young pastor of sterling character and is doing a great job in providing pastoral leadership at the Cobb County church.
During our luncheon at the Marietta Diner, Mark told me about a dear woman by the name of Dorothy Ness, who was a member of the Community Baptist Church in Bunnell, Fla., the church he served before coming back to Georgia. His comments about Mrs. Ness were so interesting and compelling I thought her story should be told in The Christian Index.
Dorothy’s faith and faithfulness
Somers got to know Dorothy when she was in her 80s and found her to be an incredible individual with a sweet and loving smile. He explained, “She was friendly to everyone she met and had a tremendous heart for Jesus. She was normally very reserved, but if you wanted to talk about the Bible or Jesus, she was as bold as a lion to speak up and share her thoughts.
“She had a deep knowledge of the Word of God and every time I went to visit her, the Bible was on a table stand turned to a different passage. She loved quoting scripture and following the teaching of Adrian Rogers. She listened to him on a daily basis. She loved music and those old hymns saturated with theology.
“Dorothy was a very wise woman who had great spiritual depth and perception. She had a tremendous calling to serve Jesus with the gifts and abilities God had given her. She was a woman of impeccable character.
“Earlier in her life she and her husband, Bob, lived in the Philippines, taught children, and took special pride in teaching the children of missionaries while their parents ministered to the people on the field. She taught them core subjects as well as the Bible. When I visited in her home she would tell me what a joy it was to see the excitement in the children’s eyes as she taught them. Dorothy was not able to have any children, so she loved and taught the children of the missionaries as if they were her own.
“Dorothy was faithful to the Lord and dedicated to the local church. Dorothy was consistent in her attendance to church until she became ill with cancer. She taught in the children’s department for more than 30 years. She loved those children with an unconditional love. People enjoyed being around her due to her loving personality and the fascinating stories she told about her time on the mission field.
“Dorothy was a true servant, modeled humility, and never wanted to be noticed for what she was doing in contributing to the growth of the Kingdom. She was always thinking of others and ready to give a helping hand to those in need.”
Dorothy sacrificed in order to be generous
As Pastor Somers told me about the generosity of Dorothy I knew I had to share her story. He explained, “Dorothy sacrificed many of the daily comforts we would normally enjoy in order to have more money to give to her church and missions. For example, she kept only one light on in her house for reading and cooking. She lived by this discipline daily. She depended on the lamp on her desk to read and took it with her into the kitchen when preparing food.
“She refused to turn the thermostat down in the summer but kept it at 80 degrees to save money. She got used to living in a warm house and made it a way of life. That is quite a sacrifice for people living in Florida, especially during the hot, sultry summer months.
“Dorothy rarely went out to eat. She was content to eat the food she had in her pantry. She would eat things like beans and rice to pinch pennies, so she would have money to give to others.
“She only drove to the grocery store, church, and the doctor’s office. She felt that burning gas for unnecessary trips would wear out her car and require spending money on additional mechanical repairs.”
Somers continued, “Dorothy almost never spent money on herself. She just purchased the necessities like groceries, medicine, and fuel for her car. She wore the clothes she had in her closet. She felt shopping for new clothes was unnecessary when she had a closet full of them. She didn’t see the need for the latest, greatest styles. She was kingdom focused.
“Dorothy received the word from her physician that she had cancer at the age of 87. The cancer was terminal. She prayed for God to heal her but knew that if He decided to take her to heaven, she was ready to go. After consulting with her doctor, he said she needed to get her things in order because her cancer was spreading. Dorothy decided to do exactly as the doctor suggested.
“Dorothy met with a lawyer and updated her will so the family would get her house. Dorothy had a generous amount of money that she wanted to leave her church. Dorothy wrote a check for $75,000 to be given to her church when she passed away for the purpose of missions and the spread of the Gospel. We did not know she was going to donate this money until after she had passed away. She sacrificed comfort for the Kingdom.”
The spider monkey in her purse
Somers added, “The only thing I know of that Dorothy ever did wrong was that while teaching in the Philippines, her husband Bob introduced her to a baby spider monkey that she stuck in her purse on the flight home to the United States. Dorothy said it was easy to bring her pet spider monkey to the United States because it fell asleep in her purse on the plane and did not wake up until they arrived at the gate to leave. She raised that spider monkey like it was her own child. The spider monkey’s name was “Chippie.”
“Dorothy Ness was 89-years-old when she passed away. She was one of the godliest women I have ever met in my life. She was a Proverbs 31 woman. Proverbs 31:29 describes her well, ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.’”