When I was really little, each Saturday morning was a time for myself and two siblings to run into my parent’s bedroom waking them up. It was a fun time in life. My dad was an insurance salesman, my mom kept us in line at home. I have many great memories from that time, running up and down the neighborhood with friends, falling out of trees, playing army in the back alley with wooden sticks for guns. One particular area of my home intrigued me, it was the wall in our home which was full of awards, certifications, and trophies from my dad’s sales. I remember one was a big gold colored key. That was my favorite trophy. In fact, one trip we took as a family was to St. Louis, Missouri, this was an award my dad won for being such a great salesman. One of my favorite things to do was to go with my dad on his sales calls. I could always tell if my dad made the sale on his way back to the car if he had a bounce in his step or a smile, I knew he made the sale. This was my first lesson in being able to read people. As a family, we also traveled with dad’s southern gospel group. Many many good times.
When I was 10 years old, my dad decided to leave sales full-time to pastor a church. I remember watching my dad tear down his wall of trophies, I asked him if I could keep the big golden key. I kept that key for years. The change was pretty significant. I really didn’t understand what was going on at the time. But moving from a neighborhood with lots of kids, schools I knew well, to the wide-open country, where we had four neighbors, and the rest were soybeans was pretty drastic.
Needless to say, being a preachers kid is not normal. You quickly learn that church is more than Sunday; your life becomes all about hospital visits, funerals, weddings, church carpet colors, lengthy board meetings, mowing the grass, painting the church, cleaning toilets, more hospital visits, politics, power struggles, late nights at people’s homes and so on. That last time I visited Selma, my dad mentioned that as his son, I’ve seen plenty in church. Behavior that just makes you scratch your head. Many of those experiences are burned into my memory. But despite how people have treated my dad over the years, I never saw my dad give up, no matter what, he stayed true to his calling to be a shepherd to the church, a calling that came at the age of 16.
So over 30 plus years, I’ve reflected from time to time about that wall of trophies. I can see each one lined up on the wall, placed there with care. And despite what I’ve seen behind the scenes in church, I began to understand year after year what my dad traded his trophies for. He traded them for each one of you. Serving you became his reward.
Today is Pastor appreciation day. So I ask you today, what is your trophy wall. What is it today that G!d is asking for you to set aside for the calling he has on you? Because before you today is someone who did just that, First because of G!d’s calling on his life, and secondly so you would be sitting here today.
About the Author:
Steven Davis is the son of a minister; Bible school dropout, recovering social worker, and musician.