My grandfather, Papa Jim, is not only one of the best men I know; he is also one of the best men in the known universe. And one of the greatest “men of strength”. I know this for a fact. And so do a lot of people. Papa is one of those very rare men that everyone knows is special. He has taught and mentored many, many men. He has been, and continues to be, an example for everyone who knows him. For the men in our family, from his sons and sons-in-law down to his great-grandsons, he is an example of what a good man should look like. For the women in our family, from daughters and daughters-in-law down to great-granddaughters, he is an example of the same: what a good man should look like.
I know what it looks like and feels like to be around good men because of the men in my family, so it was easy to spot that my now-husband was a good man when I met him. My family and I, and many other families around the world, have a lot to thank Papa Jim for.
A few months ago, I asked some men in my family to write advice for other men to put on the blog for “March Man-ness” and then I got sick and haven’t posted. My Papa Jim’s advice is worth putting up, so I won’t deprive you of it a moment longer. It starts, as all good things do, in the dining room:
On the buffet in our dining room is a picture of all our family members except three-about 30 people. The picture was taken when we were celebrating my 80th birthday. I look at that picture almost daily and ask how in the world someone like me could be so blessed with such a fulfilling life and such a great family.
I am convinced it is the result of two commitments I made that have shaped my life and made it worth living. The first commitment I made when I was 13 years old. That was the day I gave my life to Jesus Christ. When I was 16 I stood before my church and committed my life to ministry. I went through a time when I thought I wanted out of that commitment but the results were disastrous. When I was 21 I came back to that commitment and I would not exchange the life God has laid out for me with anyone.
The second commitment was when Margey and I stood before her brother and her pastor and committed our lives to God and each other. I am sometimes asked how I feel about the soon to be 58 years Margey and I have been married and I am quick to say I just wish we could do it all over again. Our family now numbers about 30 including our children and their spouses, our grandchildren and their spouses, and now 8 great-grandchildren. The amazing thing is their relationship with the Lord and they enjoy being together.
Isn’t it amazing what God can do with our lives when we can keep just two major commitments?