Sage Advice

Some of my fondest memories, and best stories, involve my Papaw. He was a kind, gentle, wise, good, Christian man who served more as a father figure to me than a grandfather.

Back in 1994 I decided to chance careers: quit my job as a manager at a pet store and go into the car sales business. While I made a fair living at my job I wanted the chance to make a better living for my family. My wife was apprehensive, to say the least, but didn’t stop me. In fact, no one was particularly supportive of my career change, I felt very good about the prospect.

I remember telling Papaw about my decision, and his reaction. It was Christmas Eve and we were at the traditional holiday gathering at my grandparents house. Papaw and I were talking about I don’t really remember what when I felt like it was time to tell him about my impending change. He listened patiently while I told him of the new job, the potential I felt it held for me, and the reasons I was sure I’d be good at this position. After I finished it remember him pausing, I could see the cogs turning inside his head as he took it all in, a sight I’d seen many times in my life. When he finally spoke he said something I hadn’t expected: he thought I was right! He told me that I had a good plan, had the skills to do the job, and, even though it wouldn’t be easy, I could succeed at it … if I remembered one thing: “Son,” he said, “if you just treat every feller the way you’d want him to treat you if you were in his shoes you’ll do just fine.” I didn’t realize it at the time, mostly because someone finally thought I was making a good decision, but what he was actually doing was biblically teaching me; he was paraphrasing The Golden RuleLuke 6:31

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

My grandfather lived by what God’s Word teaches. And he advised or taught, if you will, from the precepts of The Word, too, in a way that didn’t come across as high or holy or righteous; his words came as wise, thoughtful, caring, and genuine down to earth. He didn’t say that he was giving me Scripture or quoting the Bible; I know he did this because it was just how he was, genuine, down to earth, and all the rest. And when I finally got it and realized it was Scripture I felt like God got even more glory from Papaw’s simple, easy way of presenting it.

As I went into my new career I applied that sage advice in every “deal” I worked. I actually took it a bit farther, perhaps, and treated each customer how I’d want my Papaw to be treated; I still hold true to this philosophy to this day and it has served me well.

Papaw was right about everything he said that Christmas Eve night. I did prosper in my new career, and lived it most of the time. And I always told folks what and how I came about my way of doing business. And as clueless as I was to it, God got the glory each time. He still does today, too, I just realize it now and am happy to be able to be able to give it to Him.

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