Memories and lessons learned; for the grand-kids.

The closest thing I have to a talent is a strong work ethic.

NameJames Reeves

Memories and lessons learned.

I credit my dad for giving me a strong work ethic. Keeping my nose to the grindstone helped me advance from a laborer to a heavy equipment mechanic and welder which I enjoyed doing for nearly twenty-four years. It’s how God enabled me to provide for my family. Eventually my hard work and loyalty opened doors that can only be explained as God’s blessing, a genuine answer to prayer.

As a young boy, I would often wake up around four in the morning to the sound of coughing. I would crawl out of bed and make my way to the kitchen where I would find my dad sitting at the table drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette and yes, coughing. After the coughing ran its course, he seemed to be in deep thought about the coming day. Or perhaps he was using the time to sort things out. Things that had nothing to do with the coming day. Problems that he faced that as a child I had no concern of. Smoking was my dad’s only vise and it was that vise that eventually took his life. Looking beyond the smoke you would find a good and honest Christian man who had worked hard from the time he was a young boy. In his youth he mowed lawns, (with an engine-less push mower), delivered newspapers and sacked groceries at a local store. Dad was involved with the Boy Scouts earning the rank of Eagle Scout. His work ethic was evident through athletics as he ran track, played football and boxed. Dad even played football while serving with the Navy Seabees during the Korean War.

Occasionally my dad would allow me to go to work with him and I loved it. Dad was a warehouse manager and bookkeeper for an oil company from 1957 until 1990. That’s with the exception of a couple of years when he tried something else. I witnessed firsthand his productive work ethic. Someone from his office told me that after he died it took three men to replace him.

Dad would pay me out of his pocket a dollar a day for putting up inventory such as belts, hoses and spark plugs. That wasn’t bad for an eight-year-old kid! The job also came with benefits that included transportation, lunch and if dad was willing, a glass of milk and a slice of chocolate pie at Arkie’s, a local café and coffee shop. I worked a number of jobs before I turned sixteen and entered the world of minimum wage. Some of which included selling door to door, mowing lawns, selling peanuts and popcorn at the UT games, pumping gas at a full-service filling station, working at a plant nursery, as well as mounting and balancing tires at a tire shop. Getting your hands dirty is not a sin. It's a blessing!

Mom would have preferred I stayed a kid. Even so, she taught me about tithing. That Old Testament concept that requires you to give back a tenth of your earnings. God blesses you with ten apples so you give one apple back as a thank you. Legalistic as it was, that’s what I was taught and that was what I did. The New Testament simply requires us to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. To give whatever He lays on our hearts to give. Not just to the Church, but to one another. Giving is fundamental to trusting God. Show me a cheerful giver and I will show you someone who believes God’s promise to provide. I’ve known good Christian men who felt as if they couldn’t afford to give and I’ve watched them continually struggle to make ends meet. I’ve also seen how God blesses the cheerful giver beyond measure. Everything we have belongs to the LORD. We are simply stewards. This is my conviction.

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