Thirty-three years ago, today March 30, my papaw went to Heaven. Judy and I were in our last year of Bible college (BBC in Springfield, Missouri) in our first year of marriage. We came back to Kentucky to attend his funeral.
As I think about his influence in my life, five things he taught me come to mind. He still has a positive impact on my life. I hope I can be the grandfather to my grandchildren that he was to his grandchildren.
My papaw taught me….
1. The Value of Hard Work
Every summer for several years my papaw ‘hired’ us to work on the home in Kentucky. The cousins tore down the old house and put in a mobile home. He taught me to shovel gravel, pull out and straighten rusty nails, stack used lumber, and dig ditches for the leach bed. I can still hear him tell us, “Grab a root and growl.” We worked hard and he paid us $30 for the week. I think all of us cousins are hard workers, thanks to my papaw.
2. The Importance of Church
Since my papaw loved Jesus, he also loved going to church. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, then the Baptist church. He was so consistent, all we had to do was tell the usher we wanted to sit in papaw’s pew, and he took us to the fourth pew on the left. He also made us sit and listen. If we acted up or talked, he would ‘plunk’ us on the head with his thumb. We soon learned that church was a good place to listen about Jesus. Church is still important to me, thanks to my papaw.
I can remember one day my papaw took my brother, Dick, and I on a long walk through some woods from our house to his house. It was about 12 miles. About 1/2 way we stopped by an old tree and sat down for a snack he brought. Then he began to talk to us about how to pray. It wasn’t a sermon, but he wanted us to know what he learned about talking with God. I don’t know if Dick remembers, but I remember that talk. Some of those principles I still use when I pray, thanks to my papaw.
4. The Necessity of a Genuine Faith
My papaw had some struggles as a young man. He would say he was going down the wrong path. Married with four girls under the age of 2 (2 sets of twins), he was working at the local college in the poorest county (Menifee) in the poorest state (Kentucky) in America. A Christian friend invited him to the local revival at the Presbyterian church. Papaw told him he needed to work. The friend said, ‘What if I work for you?’ Papaw said he needed the money. Then the friend said, ‘I’ll work and you keep the money.” Papaw knew a good deal, so he went to the revival. He heard about having a genuine faith and trusted Jesus as His personal Savior. I trusted Jesus as my own personal Savior later in life, thanks to my papaw.
5. The Worth of the Bible
Every day my papaw read his Bible. If we were at his house in the morning, he and my mamaw would read a section out of ‘The Daily Bread’ with a section of the Bible. Then we would pray for the day. I still have a Bible of his that I treasure. I love and read my Bible, thanks to my papaw.
There is a very special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Sometimes it doesn’t last long. I was 22 when my papaw died. But as you can tell, his memory still has an impact on everything I do. I hope every grandparent (and parent) will realize the lasting impact we are making every day on our children and grandchildren. Even the little things we do, will one day be big things in the lives of the little people we influence.