David’s Daily Devotion for June 18

June 18, 2022 - It’s Saturday, June 18.

My father was born on June 18, 1913, in North Zulch, Texas - a northern suburb of Greater Metropolitan Zulch. Just kidding. It was, and still is, a largely rural area about a hundred miles north of Houston. His father was a sharecropper, which means he worked incredibly hard, and someone else got most of the profits. At least my grandfather had a 16 member farm team - his 16 children! It was a culture built on hard work, with little opportunity for education. And then something happened that changed my dad's destiny.

In his late teens he developed a serious illness and was bedridden for a long period. He spent most of that time reading, and was transformed into a student, an academic - into someone who wouldn't make his living by the strength of his back, but by the power of his mind. He worked - and hitchhiked - his way through Baylor University, the only person in his family to go to college.

In 1941 he became the pastor of a little church in Houston. In 1995 he passed away, still pastor of that same church - a 54 year record that still leads the Southern Baptist Convention. The little church grew like wildfire, and by the 1950's was one of the largest churches in Texas - running over 2000 in Sunday School and leading the nation in baptisms.

In the 1960's, the neighborhood around his church began to change and he led his congregation to change, to adapt, to "bloom where they were planted". In the 70's, it became a multi-ethnic church with a ground breaking bus ministry. And today, it boasts its own school and continues to minister to an ever-changing community. It is one of my father's greatest legacies.

My dad was a great pulpiteer. He once preached on the same conference stage with a young evangelist named Billy Graham. He delivered simple, memorable, powerful sermons week after month after year after decade. But he was also a great pastor, caring for his people, nurturing them, loving them - even when they were distinctly unlovable. And my father, perhaps above all, was a student of the Bible. He could recite much of it by memory and his nickname was "The Walking Bible.”

By the time I was in my teens, he was in his sixties. I didn't always respect him as much as I should have. But as the years have rolled by, I've come to understand who he was, all that he was. A man of many sides and many talents. A man dedicated to ministry, dedicated to people. A man "after God's own heart". My dad.

Happy Father's Day to all our Daily Devotion readers.

Meet you back here on Monday,
Bro. David