Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where credit is DUE!

My growth and evolution as a man, and more specifically as a Christian man, has been influenced by many men over the past 40 years.  Today’s blog will be to their credit or their shame, depending on what you think of me!!  There have been just as many influential women in my life, but today, it is about the guys.
At the risk of leaving someone out, which I would never want to do, I am going to run through a few men that have made contributions to moving me forward in my life journey.  Some contributions may have seemed small, but they came at a pivotal time in my life.
Don Harriman, a gentle giant of a guy with a dry (make that very dry) sense of humor was my Sunday School teacher for 3 years while I was in school.  I thought it was 4 years, but Jay Sampson thought it was two, so I settled on 3 years.  Not because three years with the same teacher was normal, but because he was the only one with enough patience to put up with my class of boys at FBC Duncan.  Patience and dry wit are things that I especially thank him for teaching me.

Mike Crook was my youth leader at FBC Duncan for pretty much my whole youth group years.  He showed me how to have fun and be a leader.  He taught me that it is ok to push the envelope on ways to worship God.  His leadership at FBC Duncan speaks for itself.  I can think of at least 6 people in my class or the one behind me that are in full time Christian ministry currently.  Relaxing in Christianity, and not just focusing on the dos and don’ts are things that I like to mix in from his tool chest of teaching.

Gerald Wheeler was my teacher for Trigonometry and Calculus in my Junior and Senior years of high school.  He is a very gentle and kind man.  Among a world of math skills, he taught me that a man can be calm, patient and easy going, and still be an effective leader.

Richard Lane was my organic chemistry professor in college.  I did not know Dr Lane well enough to know the content of his character or the setting of his moral compass, but he was an encourager of me.  He saw potential in me professionally and really encouraged me to apply to medical school and continue my education.  I was in a pharmacy career path and he is one of the main reasons that I went ahead and applied to the OU College of Medicine.  He taught me how a small word of encouragement can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Rick Johnston is Jill’s mother’s 1st cousin.  He is a great Christian man who lives in Chickasha.  He invited me to be his guest on a Walk to Emmaus men’s weekend in September of 2001.  Through this weekend in Hinton 10 years ago, and the men that God has brought into my life via Emmaus, his sponsorship of me on that weekend has made a huge difference in my life.  I often talk with him about issues, both professional and personal, and he always has an answer.  Sometimes the answer is “I’m glad that it is you that is making that decision and not me”, but he always has an answer.  It is not always a “churchy” answer or what I want to hear, but it is always received with gratitude.  He has shown me that investing time into people and being honest with them can make a positive influence for the Kingdom.

All of the positive attributes from the men above are things that they prominently displayed for me.  I would like to think that I employ some of those things in my personality, although, I know that they don’t show through as much as they should.  I am a work in progress.  I am pretty sure that I could take some of the best attributes of the men listed above and the two below, and make a guy that looks a whole lot like Jesus.
Easily, the two men that have had the biggest influence on my life have been my father, Jerry Gregston, and my maternal grandfather (Grampus) Elmer Due.
My dad has been a steady, positive influence in my life as a child, young adult and adult.  I can not remember him ever losing his temper or being unhealthily angry.  He has always been patient with me and with everyone that I have ever seen him interact with.  He has never been too busy for me or for his grandkids.  He has taught me life skills through fishing, coaching baseball, leading at church, fixing cars, showing/raising pigs and working hard.  I have been hot tempered and impatient many times in my life, but some of the patience that my father has taught me has helped me to be successful personally and professionally.  There have been several times that slowly and methodically thinking through a problem, rather than just reacting, has proved to be the right action.  Much of my world view is “inherited” from him.  Warped or not, like it or not, most of my sense of humor comes from him as well.  If I can be ½ the daddy to my kids that he has been to me, I will be a success.

Elmer Louis Due (my Grampus) passed away when I was 16 years old. 
My exposure to him was limited to those 16 years, but he taught me a life’s worth of lessons.  He had a love for people that I would like to emulate.   He too was a very patient man.  Grampus supported me in wrestling.  He spent money that he did not have to buy me wrestling tights.  Seems he could not stand to see his grandson wrestling in girls red leotards!!  We had an old dune buggy, and we would drive it until it broke, then he would have it fixed to go again the next time we came over.  He challenged me intellectually and righted my moral compass on a few occasions.  I wish I had taken more advantage of the time that I had with him.  Taking notes of his wisdom.  Taking notes on his ability to fix anything.  Taking notes on his ability to play any musical instrument.  My cousin Lance Due, once said that our Grampus was “Smarter than an apple computer” and that was before Apple was cool.  His last name is the play on words that we have chosen to use in our Medical Ministry called “Due unto others”.  We would hope to show God’s love in a way that would mirror my grandfather.  Not because we owe it to someone, but because it is what God has called us to.
One definition of Due by Webster is as follows:  satisfying or capable of satisfying a need  adequate <giving the matter due attention>
One of the goals of Due Unto Others, is to give Due attention to a need that God has placed on our hearts, to His glory!
I am really going to try to be more witty and less sappy in future offerings!


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