Always be prepared to give an answer. . . . But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
My dad, Tom, was a cowboy before he was a preacher. Until age twenty-one, he knew little about religion. He jokes that his family attended church regularly—every Christmas and Easter.
But when Dad gave his life to Christ, he did so wholeheartedly. He jumped into full-time evangelism, studied theology, was ordained, and eventually even sold his cattle so he could devote everything to ministry.
My grandfather couldn’t fathom why Dad had chosen God over ranching. He hung his head in shame and bemoaned in public, “I don’t know where I went wrong, having a preacher for a son.” Dad and Grandpa had been close before Jesus came into the picture. In retrospect, I wonder if my grandfather’s hurtful attitude flowed from a grieving heart rather than from any real disappointment in my dad.
For years we prayed for Grandpa’s salvation. We asked God to send people into Grandpa’s life who would show him the character of Christ and bring light to his spiritual darkness (2 Cor. 4:1–6). While God did answer that prayer—people came in droves to tell Grandpa about Jesus—it was the consistent, loving faithfulness of my own father that, I believe, had the greatest impact on my grandfather’s spiritual awakening.
Eventually, Grandpa surrendered his life to Jesus. Years of observing the integrity of God’s people finally softened the old cowboy’s heart.
Pray for God to show unbelievers his character through you.
Laura Hurd is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and holds a master’s degree from Wesley Seminary [IN]. She pastors with her husband, Jason, in rural Nebraska.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.