There are few people whom I have met in my brief lifetime that strike me as exceptional human beings. My grandfather was one of them. He passed away last night at the age of 84. He led a good life. Today my aunt said that we ought to go out to his farm and find something that represents him and use it as part of a flower arrangement for the funeral… maybe an old wagon wheel or something. I liked the idea. It’s true that my grandpa was a lover of the land, but a wagon wheel doesn’t come close to representing him in full. He was much more than a farmer, schoolteacher, husband, father, or grandfather. He was a giver. Giving is how he mirrored his savior. He truly seemed to understand that he was blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others.
“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” –Psalm 24: 1
My grandpa knew that there was nothing that he had worked for that was worth keeping for himself. He was a school teacher and farmer, yet he gave gifts as if he had the salary of a doctor or lawyer. He loaned money that he often never got back; bought cars for people who never paid him back, and did it with the utmost joy. I feel sure that Jesus spoke to his heart in Luke 6 when he says, “To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold you tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” He lent money expecting nothing in return. Most people saw it as foolish… he saw it as good.
In the summers when I was in elementary school grandpa would bring us literally every day to Water World, a local water park. He didn’t like to swim but he brought us anyway… sitting at a picnic table day after day while we enjoyed our well-irrigated wonderland.
When he finally decided that our go-cart was too dangerous, he bought an old Toyota Corolla for us to ride around the farm in. It seems a bit much huh? And yes, we went entirely too fast.
He brought us fishing and to see the cows. He would even have the hay bales arranged in a manner that made them more fun to play on. He thought of little things like this, fashioning an abundance of smiles on our faces… surely not realizing the gifts he was storing for himself in heaven.
I got a car on my sixteenth birthday, a large gift when I graduated from high school, and a fully paid college education… all because of my grandparents (I cant exclude grandma from the equation). I was not an exception. All of my siblings and cousins received the same treatment… nothing asked for in return. There was no catch. He simply gave much because he loved much.
He was a forgiving man. I cant tell you how much stuff my brothers and I broke. We crashed the gocart into grandmas Mercedes, broke windows with baseballs, and set numerous things on fire… maybe he never knew about the fire… either way he always forgave us. He loved us the same as the day before.
My brothers and I lived with our grandparents for three years. Every night grandpa read the bible to us. He prayed with us and sent us off to bed. Through tears I rejoice in the life that my Grandfather led. He was salt. He was a lamp on a stand… intending to help people see Jesus. He truly knew his savior. I can’t imagine the infinite joy he is experiencing at this very moment in the presence of the King.
Above: The only photo I could find of me and grandpa. I am sure there are more... just dont know where.