By Jerry Gillespie
I tell you it’s an honor and a pleasure for me to be here. It’s an honor and pleasure for me to present my story, which I’m assuming is not that much different than everybody’s story. So thanks for the opportunity.
You know I’m also one of those people that think there is humor in everything. There’s even secular humor that I think applies to a lot of things like, scripture. So I’m going to talk about understanding a little bit here. I want to tell you there was this guy that went to the doctor for a check up and everything was OK. And the doctor said, is there anything else you want to talk about and he said, “yes”. “My wife is really hard of hearing and I cannot convince her that she can’t hear.” And the doctor said,” well, I don’t know, you’ll have to bring her in”. And the man says,” well she won’t go to the doctor; she’s in denial about this.
Is there anything you can give me?” He said “yeah, but even at that I have to know how deaf she is.” And so, he says “well what do you want me to do?” and the doctor says, “well I will tell you what I want you to do”. “I want you to talk to her”, and he told him how to do it. So the guy went home and his wife was cooking in the kitchen. He went clear across to the other side of the room as the doctor said to do, to ask her a simple question. The doctor said if she doesn’t answer you step forward and ask her the same question so on and so forth until she answers. And so, he gets back in the corner and he says, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” And she doesn’t say anything, and so he walks a few feet in and he says, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” And she doesn’t respond, so he walks closer again, and says, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” And she doesn’t say anything, so he walks up right behind her and says, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” She turned around then and said “I’ve told you four times, fried chicken”.
So a lot of times, perception is different. I think people look at scripture that way, to. A lot of times you don’t think the scriptures are talking about you. “It applies to who”? “All of us, all the time”.
You know I want to start by telling you that I actually brought three witnesses for this talk today. I’ve been blessed, way beyond my ability. And these three know, that I don’t have the talent to make what’s taken place in our business happen. But it has really happened; I’ve been blessed in my marriage and I’ve been blessed with my family. I’ve been married for 40 years. I’ve been blessed with a lot of friends, both Christian and non-Christian friends. I’ve been able to really witness to my non-Christian friends over the years. And of course I’ve been blessed beyond my abilities in business. As a matter of fact every person in our company is being blessed beyond the total amount of our abilities, because our company was dedicated to Christ at the foundation of the family.
We still pray every Monday morning for protection for those that travel, and healing for those that are sick and wisdom on how to do our business. So it’s a huge part of the calendar. Also I say that in total humility, because it really is more than we could have done individually. If Bill Bartlett was standing here in front of me today, he would tell you the same thing. God has blessed our company way beyond the abilities of the people at our company.
There’s a sign in my home and I love this sign, and I’ve never seen it any place else. My wife picked it up. And it says, (it describes me to a great extent). It’s a simple sign and it says, “We are a family, created in the mind of God, before the dawn of time.” I actually don’t think anything happens to me that wasn’t preordained to happen. I consider Callidus, not a business, I consider it a business family. I consider my church, my church family, I consider my friends, my friend family. And so that says more about me than most would realize. I grew up in a really small town in Texas. I’m surprised that you guys actually came when you saw the picture that Whitney sent you. In my bio I did put that I never dreamed about being anything else but a cowboy. I didn’t grow up on a ranch, but I didn’t want to be anything else.
The Four Six’s ranch ended at the corner of the city limits in the small town that I grew up in. So I was always around cowboys. I liked their honesty, toughness, and their straight forwardness. It was amazing. You could tell them a story and if you weren’t telling the truth one of them would eventually say, “That’s a lie”. A lot of them had that habit. I always thought that was the case.
So, that’s my background. When I was 12 years old, in April, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. The church that my parents and I belonged to, believed in baptism by submersion. I knew when I got up that my life changed. There has never been a doubt in my mind that something happened to me at that moment in time, never once. The church I grew up in was really a legalistic church. They did not believe that you accepted Christ as your Savior and then you were saved. That was not in their doctrine. You were saved by works. It was a church of works.
So it was, as this 100% knowing that I was saved dwindled within a year, I came to the realization that I would never make it to heaven because I could never control my ability to sin. And so, I became totally discouraged and actually gave up. At this church they actually didn’t allow instruments of any kind. So, in Sunday school class one time, not to cause trouble, not to ever say anything against that church, I made the comment “I don’t’ understand why you can’t have instruments?”. The Sunday school teacher answered me and said, “because it was not in the New Testament”. Now here’s what got me in so much trouble. I was not trying to cause problems. I looked at him and I said “yea, but it doesn’t say anything about air conditioning or lights”. My parents did not take me to the woodshed but I was not allowed to talk in Sunday school.
Growing up believing there was a scale system in order to go to heaven, believing it was based on what I did, good versus bad, I knew I wouldn’t make it. I believed I just couldn’t do it. I tried hard, and it didn’t work and I knew that I would never make it to Heaven. So, In my early 20’s, I left that church, even if I was there, I wasn’t there. I am telling you I was just totally discouraged. Then in about my mid 20s, I heard a tape. It was on Romans. I’d actually heard it at that particular time when it said, “you’re saved by grace, not by works least any man should boast”. I asked how could that be? I have to tell you that the church I grew up in didn’t like that scripture. Then I started studying, I got into God’s word and listened to the word and it changed my life forever. So I went from not being able to make it to Heaven to believing I can make it to Heaven.
Now all of a sudden if I want the rewards, the blessings or if I want whatever the case is then that’s up to God. All I have to do is stay in fellowship. Mr. Bartlett and I talk about this all the time. If we stay in fellowship, that doesn’t mean sinless, it means we’re staying in fellowship with the Lord. When we do something wrong, we confess that sin and we go on, God will bless that in our life. And it’s the foundation of my business. It’s always been the foundation of my faith and it will always stay that way.
But that kind of contradicts in some ways, when you go to James, which is one of my favorite books. I’m going to read from James here in just a second. It says that “James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes scattered among the nations, consider it pure joy (pure joy), my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, perseverance when it finishes its work so that you may be mature, complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lack wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault.” Think of that concept. No matter what we ask God, he does not find fault, when we ask for wisdom. “But when you ask him you must believe and not doubt who gives generously, to all without finding fault and it will be given to him but when he asks he must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind.”
There are two things that I think are always true. Faith knows this…all of us know what Faith knows. There are trials. Right? All of us have lost people from illness, we’ve lost friends, there’s sickness all around us; we know that. But to me there are at least four reasons that we go through trials. There are more than four reasons. But there are four I’d like to bring up. It’s a test for the strength of your faith. Right? Because once you start doing God’s work, somebody is going to attack you. We all know where the basis of the attack is, but someone is going to attack. This strengthens your faith. Trials are given to us to teach us humility. When we think we did it all on our own, things get tougher. Right? Trials are given to us to wean us away from things in the world, sometimes.
When we depend on what we have in the world and that’s more important to us than anything else, God sends us trials to remind us to depend on Him. Trials are also given to us to better enable us to help other people. If you know someone that has had cancer, or has lost a leg, or has been disfigured or burned, when we that are healthy try to encourage them, it helps. When we as Christians pray for them it helps. But you show me somebody that has been through that test, someone that has been burned, goes to someone else that has been burned, that’s where the encouragement is, right? If you don’t have a leg, and you used to, then you’re the encouragement to the one that just lost a leg. I think every person in this room can encourage another person in this room. But you have to look for that person to encourage. That’s our job. That truly is our job.
Even though I floundered in church, even though I fell away, even though I found my way back, I’m continually on guard. I’ll tell you where some of the blessings I’ve been given by God came from. Blessings that I never dreamed would happen. As I said my dream was to be a cowboy at Four Six’s Ranch in the town I grew up in. I wanted to run barb wire, I wanted to work cattle, but when we moved to Oklahoma City, that dream totally vanished for me. I was no longer around the ranch so I forgot my dream. This is when I get a little bit emotional. My lifetime dream of wanting to be a cowboy was fulfilled through my wife’s father, my father-in-law. When he retired he bought a cattle ranch, a small place in Wyoming. For four years in a row, I went and worked the fall calves. We did round up.
I did everything that I wanted to do as a cowboy. Every year when I went to the roundup I would get to stay a whole week on a horse, with everything else going on in the world. I’m telling you this story to make a point. My father in-law thought he had not made a difference in my life. I was able to go be a cowboy for four years, my dream but when my father-in-law got sick he said that he felt bad because” he’d never done anything for me”. My response to Melvin was, “Melvin, you gave me something no one could have ever given me” I told him that God used him to give me my lifetime dream. We encourage and help people sometimes when we don’t even know it. I use that example, but I can use it in almost anything that has occurred in my life. I mentioned that I had been married for 40 years. My wife and I got married and when we got married, she was not my first choice.
Now she was when I met her, don’t get me wrong, but the woman that I wanted to marry, and I just knew that I was going to grow up with, had been married four times. It reminds me of the Garth Brooks song, “if you know, it goes, God does answer prayers”. God answers. It’s the same way with my boys my family and my job. God has blessed me way beyond my ability. I will end by saying this one more thing. When a lot of pressure comes my direction at Callidus, and it’s really a difficult problem, hard to resolve and there’s no good answer or solution, I’ve said to Bill over the years “Bill, I keep telling you this, all I ever wanted to be was a cowboy. I should have turned right someplace and I turned left, and I ended up in this mess.” Everything that we do for a living, everything we have here, is just a vapor, it really is. And so I really believe that you should laugh a lot, smile a lot, and be happy.
Be encouraged, because we have something to hold on to as Christians. I don’t care what the problem is, when we look at a problem in light of eternity, the problem is not that much of a problem any more. Once again I really appreciate the invitation. Thank you for asking me to come and Don thank you for the invite as well. God bless each and every one of you more than he already has.