My grandpa was a man who woke each morning to please Jesus. On March 26, 2009 he passed away at the age of 89. As I have reflected on my Grandpa’s life I observed many values that guided him. Consider what I call the “Big 3”: prayer, generosity and mission. Grandpa resonated deeply with these values and I have discovered that he passed them on to me.
Prayer was everything. “I am praying for you every day,” Grandpa would say every time we hugged to leave his house. What confidence it gave me knowing he would daily ask God to protect and guard me.
For me, to this day prayer is everything. I understand little is ever accomplished without it. There are many people in our churches who share a passion to pray. I have visited churches whose prayer room walls are covered with photos, newsletters and inspirations to pray for the unreached places of the globe. These churches cover our missionary teams worldwide with prayers of protection in dangerous circumstance, prayers of wisdom for challenging decisions and prayers for perseverance with language or cultural adaptation. Let’s keep praying.
Generosity built trust. My Grandpa was one of the most generous people I know. He was very interested in focusing his investments on those things that would outlive him, things of eternal value. It was easy to see where his priorities lay. He gave to church and he gave to mission. He invested in people. Whether his farm’s harvest was sparse or bountiful, his commitment to give remained constant (so did the amount). Generosity bred trust in God.
Generous giving is non-negotiable for my family. The Bible tells us that some kings trust in chariots and horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God [Ps 20:7]. I long for my kids to lead another generation of young people to walk boldly into needy places filled with hope and trust in God. A generous life trusts impeccably.
Mission meant purpose. Grandpa understood that he was an integral part of God’s mission. His favorite Psalm reminded him regularly that his days on earth were numbered (Ps 90:12). He knew that each moment of life on earth was a precious gift to be used to its maximum. As a farmer my Grandpa did not travel extensively on mission trips, yet everyone who visited his home was a welcomed guest and the love of Jesus was demonstrated regardless of race or colour.
There is nothing that gives my life more purpose than surrendering to Jesus’ mission. This summer we will see hundreds serve on short term mission teams all over the world. This fall we have another group of eleven potential long term church planters participate in an 8 month intensive mission training program we call MTI (Missionary Training Institute).
I often say that if I had two lives to live, I would have farmed for one of them. I so greatly respected my Grandpa and wanted to be like him. Still perhaps even more powerful than imitating his livelihood, is the chance I have to emulate and lead other towards the same “Big 3” values which guided him until the end. Thanks for living real values Grandpa.