There is a great quote that says, “How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great.” I’ve been blessed to witness this first hand in my life. You see we may teach with our words, but we reinforce those lessons with our actions. I remember countless times watching my dad as we would pass someone on the street who asked for money, or requested something to eat and my dad never turned them away. Sometimes he would give them the last dollar he had in his pocket. Other times he would go to the nearby restaurant and buy them a meal and bring it back to them. My dad never missed an opportunity when he could help someone in need. I know it’s true that there are many who will take advantage of people who give, like my dad, but he gave anyway.
My dad could have told me to give. He could have said it’s good to be a giver and think of others. But I saw him do it. He lived his message and whenever one of his family would caution him that he might be taken advantage of and he needs to be more cautious, his response was always the same. He would say, “The Bible says that we entertain angels unawares.” My dad never looked at the person asking for a meal on the street, or a dollar to go buy a hot sandwich as a beggar or someone who was beneath him and an inconvenience. He looked at them like they were an angel. He saw what we so commonly pass by, and at times have to go to the trouble to avoid as his opportunity to serve. I have learned a lot from my dad over the years and I hope that his character and influence will be a legacy I can also pass on. My dad always made it clear that as the Bible teaches us, when we do it to the least of these my brethren, Jesus said, “You do it unto me.” My dad didn’t see the broken of our society as an inconvenience, but as an opportunity to serve Jesus.
How my dad has walked down the streets of our town and never missed an opportunity to walk with the broken and give to them at the point of their need has spoken louder in my life than if he was rubbing shoulders with the great. People like to get their pictures with famous people. To be seen on the same level with persons of status. But the only status my dad has ever sought is to serve the one who he seeks to honor, Jesus Christ, not only with his words, but also through his actions. Many may not know that my dad is also a pastor and he has preached a lot of sermons in his life. But the greatest sermon he has ever preached has been the sermon I have seen lived before my eyes all my life. A sermon that has never wavered in his integrity and his actions. Larry Dobbs, who was the president of Dobbs publishing group, once said in reference to his father, “The only inheritance that a man will leave that has eternal value is his influence.” Today as my dad’s birthday is approaching this month I have been trying to think of what I could give him, but the realization has struck me that he has given me something far greater than any physical gift. He has passed on his influence in my life and I would add to that his faith and that is what truly has eternal value. My dad and mom have taught me not only through their words but also their actions what true greatness looks like. To see it you must look down. Look down to where the need is the greatest and serve. As the Bible says, “The greatest among you will be a servant to all.” Thanks dad for teaching me how to walk with the broken and what it means to truly be great.
“A Wretch Like Me” – David D. Hanson