By David Bragg
Born in New Garden (Guilford County), NC on May 20, 1768, Dolley Payne was raised in a large and wealthy Quaker family on a Virginia plantation. After being married for only three years to her first husband, John Todd, a severe outbreak of yellow fever claimed the lives of her husband and youngest son. In 1794 Aaron Burr introduced the 26-year-old widow to James Madison (43). They were married four months later. Dolley would become the most popular First Ladies, overshadowing all others for decades (whitehousehistory.org). When the capital city was burned by the British in 1814, Dolley Madison famously rescued a portrait of President George Washington. During her reign over Washington society Mrs. Madison gained a reputation as the quintessential hostess. Henry Clay said of her, "Everybody loves Mrs. Madison," to which Dolley was said to reply, "That's because Mrs. Madison loves everybody" (Cormac O'Brien, Secret Lives of the First Ladies).
Is not that what Jesus wants us to do (Mat. 22:36-40)? He stated that the identifying mark of faithful Christians was their love for each other (John 13:35). Paul echoed that the “more excellent way" for believers to live is love (1 Cor. 13:13). John also called all Christians to prove their claim on eternal life by their love for fellow Christians (1 John 3:14). And Peter issued the simple command, "Love the brotherhood" (1 Pet. 2:17). Time and time again inspired writers reassert the need for the Lord's church to show true love (Eph. 1:15, Heb. 13:1, etc). By so doing the unbelieving world may realize that they too might share in a love and God above will recognize and reward us for becoming more like Him (1 John 4:8).
- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/ or his blog: http://davidbragg.blogspot.com/