I was young, green, and broke. I was 26 or 27 years old, and had been out of graduate school for less than two years. I was serving as a campus minister for a group of college students, and teaching as an adjunct instructor for the university. But there were other complexities involved in the ministry to which I had been assigned. I had to do public relations work with a fairly large pool of churches and individuals that supported the ministry financially. I had no training or experience in fund raising or public relations for non-profit organizations. It was a stretch to say the least.
Naturally I was very appreciative for church leaders and others that were very patient me as I learned the ropes. One man in particular stands out to me. Dr. Davis was a successful and highly esteemed pediatric dentist. He was among the church leaders that I had to “sell” on the idea of funding the ministry we provided to university students. I recall meeting him and two or three others for lunch in downtown Wichita Falls on a couple of occasions. Dr. Davis talked to me as if I was really competent. He even asked my opinion on important issues!
He was kind, but not condescending. He asked good questions and listened intently. This soft spoken gentleman unknowingly instilled confidence in me. When I finished having lunch with him (that he always paid for by the way), I walked out of the restaurant standing just a little taller. Maybe I can do this after all is what I was thinking!
Dr. Davis has been deceased for several years now, but I still think about him. Young ministers, who lack encouragers like him, have a greater propensity to crash and burn in those early years. It is just easy to be overwhelmed with the complexity of the vocation. There is never any shortage of people that take advantage of a young person’s lack of experience. And I had the added duty of public relations!
Today I had the privilege of being on the other side of the table. I had lunch with a young professional, who about 27 years old…. She is in the same boat I was in over 22 years ago. She is attempting to get established in her profession and assemble a good network in the process. My background in law enforcement afforded me the opportunity to connect to her to other competent people that can help her in the process of becoming established. Today we met with one of those professionals in Dallas. I seriously doubt I will ever play in the same league of kindness and competency that Dr. Davis played in, but it was very gratifying to do what he did for me for another person.
In fact, it was actually more than gratifying. I discovered during our meal today that the young lady I was able to reach out to is none other than Dr. Davis’ granddaughter. It really is a small world. And today it really is a good world. It has been over 22 years since I had those lunches with Dr. Davis, but as I left the restaurant parking lot I made it a point to thank God for him today. It seemed like the right thing to do. I was very thankful to reverse roles after all of these years. It was pretty neat to see a refllection of such a fine man in his granddaughter. I do believe she has his genes! Do I want to be 27 years old again? No…I don’t think so. I have a new mission in life now!