Short stature, but giant character…

He was short in stature at barely five feet tall.

We always thought of him as our little grandpa. Though a small man, he possessed giant character.

My grandpa was a career minister, meaning the role of pastor was his life’s vocation for most of his life. He was also bi-vocational, holding down a second job while pastoring a church (full-time).

His second job was that of self-employed painter. Gone from us over twenty-five years now, I can still see him in his white painter’s clothes splattered with paint from a hard day’s work.

Are there those in ministry today who mostly want recognition in exchange for their service?

Maybe it’s to be expected.

We live in a society that promotes self over just about everything. It’s a self-serving, self-absorbed and self-centered world we live in.

Unfortunately, and too often, the Church is no exception. Even with the best intentions, being in position or having a platform can challenge a commitment to humility and character.

When I think of Grandpa, I see him standing behind a pulpit in his Sunday suit.

He is smiling, loving what he does, and doing it with character.

ledger-sheet-one

Thia ledger sheet belonged to my little grandpa. It’s from the year 1948. If you’re able to look close, you’ll see he used the ledger to record his salary and offerings from the church (not one entry over $25.00).

Like most ministers back in those days, Grandpa did not support the family off his pastor’s salary. Grandma worked outside the home, too. This, along with Grandpa’s income from painting, kept them in food and home.

ledger-sheet-two

His careful and diligent recording of income, dates and amounts is a testament to his character.

It wasn’t unusual back then for pastors to receive food or other tangible items from church members as tithe (in place of money they did not have).

This second photo shows the ledger sheet where Grandpa recorded such gifts. Beside each item received (such as coffee, fruit, or sugar) he estimated the value and recorded it as tithe given to the church.

Without question, these words describe my little grandpa. He was short in stature, but had giant character. That character influenced everyone who knew him.

The words self-serving, self-absorbed and self-centered have no place in descriptions of this man who dedicated his life to influencing others for Christ.

Does this story bring someone to your mind that lived and served with character?

Someone who, like my little grandpa, lived a simple life, worked hard, and cared for family. Someone dedicated to serving God and loving people.

Do you know someone of Giant Character? In a world of self-indulgence, inflated-entitlement, and puffed-up-privilege-give us giant characterA person who never authored a book, required an agent, or filled giant stadiums, but was a character-giant (God’s representative on earth).

In a 21st century culture of mega churches, live streaming services, professional worship bands and church offices full of paid staff…give us character-giants.

In a world of self-indulgence, inflated-entitlement, and puffed-up-privilege…give us people of character. Diligent. Trustworthy. Accountable. Believable.

May it begin with us. Lord, let it begin with me.

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