Former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano made the statement, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me.”
I am blessed today to have a dad (I don’t call him father, I call him dad. Most any man can be a father, only certain special ones qualify as ‘dad’) that believes in me. As far back as I can remember, he was always present, encouraging me. Sure, sometimes that encouragement included “that wasn’t your best. Anything you decide to do deserves your best.”
Everything he did, he always gave it his best. Whether it was working a job, he always rose to the top. Or when he would get behind the pulpit, he walked in an anointing unlike anyone else I’ve seen. He was giving it his best. He had given it his best in prayer, study and consecration. One of his peer ministers told me, “When your dad would go to the pulpit, the atmosphere changed. He would just say, ‘Hallelujah,’ and the place would explode.” He gave it his best.
He gave it his best at being a husband to my mother. I cannot remember one single time where my dad raised his voice, said an unkind word or denigrated her in any form or fashion. He showed me how to be a husband and that love never fails. When she became extremely sick and bedridden for almost 2 years, dad gave it his best. He knew that God had blessed him with my mother and it was his responsibility, privilege and honor to take care of her. He gave it his best.
When life’s circumstances dealt him and mom a difficult hand and they were unable to return to the country of their calling, Chile, they handled it with class. I never saw or heard him blame anyone, complain that life was unfair or charge God. Years later, I learned from others some of the circumstances and to be honest, I don’t think I would have been able to handle it with the class and grace with which he handled it. But dad always gave it his best.
He took a job in Houston and there, he gave it his best. He is consistently salesman of the year at the Ford dealership where he works. People are drawn to him. I learned of one incident where he went above and beyond anything expected. Houston is prone to severe thunderstorms and this day, there was a bad one. Dad saw other salesmen standing at the window, laughing. When he stepped out of his office, he saw what they were laughing at. A lady had broken down on the side of the road (a flat tire or something). With a stern reprimand to those who thought this was comical, dad went out to assist the woman in distress. The next day, she came in with her family and they bought a new vehicle from dad. It always pays to give your best and dad always gave his best.
Dad never pressured me to “follow in his footsteps.” He knew that the calling had to come from God and that no one can take it upon himself. But the day that I told him that God was calling us to Chile, he had a knowing smile on his face. He said that when they left Chile, God told him that his son (me) would carry on the work and pick up where he finished. He never told me beforehand because he wanted me to give my best where I was laboring at the time. It had to come from God. I have huge shoes to fill in that nation, but with the help of God and the wisdom instilled in me from my dad, I will always give it my best, knowing that no matter what happens, I have an irreplaceable gift from my dad.