The next three blogs including this one will be to express the key components and principles that have been taught to me by the three most influential men in my life. Men on whose shoulders I am standing. As I have entered my 40’s, (I am now 41 quickly headed to 42) I have become somewhat introspective. I’ve come to realize, even though I have worked hard, and followed my heart and the will of God for my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today, or able to do the things I do, outside of the influence and training of these men. When I refer to “what i’ve done,” I’m meaning in ministry, family, friendships, and leadership. Everything in my life that has been successful or will be can be attributed to these leaders in my life.
There are so many who have influenced my life through the years, most importantly my wife Janae, I will write about that another time, for now lets stick with these three. So today it’s Rev. Doyle E. Gadberry. My grandfather. My grandfather is a great man. We have not always seen eye to eye on everything, but there are definite things he has taught me. Some I’m sure he meant to teach me, and others I’m positive He doesn’t even know I picked up from him.
#1 To Love the word of God intensely, and to communicate it passionately and creatively.
He is one of the best preachers you will ever hear. He can take the word of God and weave the narrative in such a way that will have you on the edge of your seat realizing your humanity and Gods divinity, God’s desire for you and your need for Him. I’ve heard of people running to the altar to be saved before, but I’ve only ever really seen it, when He was preaching. I was talking to a young leader the other day and He said, “how do you get people to do what you need them to do, what you see they can do, when they don’t want to commit?” I said something that I’m sure I’ve heard my grandfather say. I said, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, find a way to make him thirsty.” My grandfather is a master at communicating in a way that will make you spiritually thirsty.
I’ll never forget the day I was at his house and was playing with a neighborhood boy, to be honest I can’t remember who it was. We noticed a birds nest in the tree, we started poking at it until it fell out of the tree and there were some little blue birds eggs in it. We poked at them out of curiosity and destroyed the eggs. My grandfather really gave me a talking to that day, and said I don’t understand why you would hurt those little innocent baby birds, and he taught me to be gentle. That may sound silly to you, but kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, and it is something I work on regularly because kindness draws people to you. Its the kindness of God that brings men to repentance.
My grandfather has been married to my grandmother happily for 63 years. They raised three children who have 8 kids collectively and I think around 15 great grand kids. Family has always been very important to them. He’s taught me by his life how to love. When things aren’t perfect, when times are hard, when times are good, when you agree, and when you disagree, family is family and you still love one another. I can see through his actions that he loves my grandmother and all of his kids, their kids, and their kids. Its not just through his actions however, but also through his words. I have never been around him, that he hasn’t told me he loved me. He will always hug me, kiss my cheek, and tell me he loves me. Many times before we part company, he will say lets pray together, and then He prays over you in such a way that you know He loves you.
#4 To love ministry, live by faith, and change the world.
By his example, and by his words I have learned to love ministry. To love carrying the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To do it, whatever the cost. Every sacrifice is worth it. Every bit of time, and money, and effort put in to ministry, helping people and changing lives is worth it. He taught me, if you do what God has planned for you life you can trust God to come through and be faithful to his word. I have grown up hearing the stories of powerful works of God in their lives when they had no other options God always saw them through.
#5 To Enjoy Life
Since I was a boy, i don’t remember a time that I was with my grandfather that he wasn’t whistling, singing, laughing, or telling a story. Even though he has lived through some trying times, he has always been a shining example of how to enjoy life. Life is what you make it. He lives that motto.
So those are a few of many principles that my grandfather has taught me. I stand today on the shoulders of Rev. Doyle E. Gadberry, and do my best to live life as purposefully as he has.