When I was first considering whether God was calling me to minister in Planned Giving & Trust Services, along with the usual challenges of uprooting the family I also struggled with whether or not I would be ‘giving up’ my calling to the pastoral ministry. As I contemplated and prayed, God brought to my mind the people who He had used through the years to support and encourage me in the path I had been called to follow. People who focused on giving rather than getting, on serving rather than being served.
I first met Bob & Mary Ann Hadley when I attended Southwestern Adventist University. Bob was campus nurse while Mary Ann was director at the Ellen White Research Center. They enjoyed the company of, and working with, young people and God placed in their hearts a plan to nurture them. It was much more than just handing out money or funding scholarships. They committed to do their part to rightly train an army of youth by investing time, money, instruction, encouragement and direction. They were immersed in the experience of sharing what they had. They shared their country home for student vespers and the socials. They shared their money through an endowment and scholarships to help students continue their education. They shared their trust by providing opportunities and delegating responsibilities. When things worked out well, new responsibilities were given. When things did not turn out well, new opportunities were given to get it right.
They searched out and recruited those who would be willing to work to obtain their goals. They employed and paid varied disciplines (theologians, educators, graphic designers, business administrators, musicians, etc.) and matched the person to the job. Mary Ann did her best to expose and supply students and churches with Ellen White’s writings. She had been blessed by those writings and wanted more people to be exposed to the Living Word in the writings. Most, if not all, of the trips, salaries, and the funding for these trips came from the Hadley’s themselves. As I look back on how involved they were on campus I can’t help but think that their constant prayer to God, similar to Desmond Doss’s prayer might have been “Lord let me help one more.”
As I considered God’s current calling on my life, I once again realized that God had answered my needs through the actions, decisions and generosity of others. I considered all the scholarships others and I had received. I considered the names on the buildings, such as Hadley Hall at Southwestern Adventist University, that were there due, in large part, to those who had so generously funded them. We are all benefiting, in one way or another, from the generosity and legacy of those who came before us. This generosity is exemplified by Christians like the Hadley's. Christianity is not just taught, but caught. Which is to say, Christianity is not just faith, but also works. Not just beliefs mastered, but a lifestyle modeled. It is said that “it takes a village to raise a child.” The Hadley’s and many like them have helped raise this villager. It’s is my turn to do the same. May we all live and in a way that will positively influence others for eternity, and leave a lasting legacy.