I looked at my ordination certificate recently. It would probably have yellowed by now but for the fact that it’s printed on good quality paper and has been framed and protected by glass. As I examined the document I took note of the signatures at the bottom and realized that all six of them have been gone for some time. However, each of them had a lasting impact upon me.
Ernest Davis is one of the names on the certificate. In his 80s at the time, he prayed a prayer of dedication for me while I knelt on the stage with the hands of the other men laid upon me. His name sounds common enough doesn’t it? But he was actually, in a quiet, humble sort of way anything but common.
Ernest and his wife, along with their children, were missionaries to China for several years with the China Inland Mission. In the 1950s when all of the “foreign devils” (which included foreign missionaries) were being extricated from communist China, the Davis family got out of China just in time. Days after their departure several of their colleagues were imprisoned, tortured and killed. They never quit loving and praying for China. All of their children and some grandchildren went on to serve as missionaries in Asia and around the world.
One day I was driving home and I saw the elderly, white bearded Ernest standing at a bus stop with a bag of potato chips in one hand and a Pepsi in the other. I pulled over and offered him a ride home which he happily accepted. When I stopped in front of his house he tried to give me $20. I said that I didn’t want the money.
He explained that he had received a small inheritance and was distributing it to people whom he knew would use the resources well. He added, “Pastor Ross, we all know that you know how to give, but it is also important to receive.” I received!
The last time I saw Ernest was in 1988. I found the 90-year-old sitting in a lawn chair painting his house one small section at a time. Stacy Allison, the first American woman to climb Everest, had been in the news and he explained to me that painting his house was his Everest. Ernest reached a summit much loftier than Everest a few years later when he went to be with his Lord.
We are all making some sort of an impression…the impact that we have upon one another, whether we realize it or not, can be quite significant.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
FAITH & REFLECTION