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Life Lessons from My Grandpa

This week one of the strongest, greatest men I’ve ever known entered into Heaven – my grandpa or as our family called him, “Papaw.”

There’s not many out there like my Papaw. Strong willed and strong in heart. Respected and respectful. Papaw was the kind of man who made a lasting impact on everything and everyone he touched.

Like many grandpas – Papaw had a knack for telling great stories. He was always ready to remind us about the good ole’ days filled with hard times and hard work.

I learned a lot of lessons from his stories, but the greatest lessons of all – I learned from his actions, not just his words. Papaw always led by example. He loved hard work and he loved to stay busy. But what I think he loved most of all – was blessing others with what God had blessed him with.

And one thing that God definitely blessed him with was a strong work ethic. It was that work ethic that would eventually inspire him start a company – Speegle Contracting.

And now, over 40 years later, that company is still blessing our family.

That was one thing that I’m sure Papaw was most proud about. Not just that he had created a successful business, but that the successful business he created was blessing his family.

It’s not easy imagining the future without Papaw’s stories, but thankfully the lessons he taught in them will live on.

In fact, the very evening I heard the news of his passing I was given an opportunity to put one of his lessons into practice. I had just decided to mow grass when I was given the dreaded call. And as I hung up the phone I noticed my neighbor across the street.

His grass was knee high and he was fighting with a push mower to get the job done. I contemplated on whether or not I should offer my help. I came up with all kind of excuses initially – “He probably doesn’t even want my help…, “it’s going to get too dark to mow my own lawn…”, etc..etc..

In all honesty, I didn’t even want to mow my own lawn. The numbness of the news began creeping over me and cutting my lawn didn’t exactly feel reverent.

After mulling it over in my mind for a moment, I realized that is exactly what my grandpa would want me to do. There wasn’t much that impressed Papaw, but helping others and working hard were among the few things that did.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had to do it. God had blessed me with a perfectly good riding lawn mower and now I had the opportunity to bless someone else with it.

I walked across the street and offered my help, to which he gladly and appreciatively accepted.

As I circled my neighbors yard, tears began filling my eyes, and I couldn’t help but think that my Papaw would be proud of me. I was blessing someone else with what God had blessed me with – just as he had taught us to do his entire life

I pray that I never forget that lesson and I hope that you don’t either. God has blessed you with something. And if He’s blessed you with it, I can assure you that He intends for you to use it to help others.

Maybe you have a strong work ethic and a determined spirit, just like my grandpa. Maybe you have a gift or talent that you’ve been hiding. Maybe you’re holding on to something for yourself, that God wants you to give to others.

Whatever God has put in you or on you I want to encourage you to give it away.

There are so many memories that I’ll never forget of my Papaw. Him pulling out his weathered Bible in the early morning hours… or the way his face lit up when he was bragging on Nana’s biscuits… or the way he described the early days of Speegle Contracting.

So many stories. So many lessons to be learned. And although he has moved on now (to a much better place) – I’m certain that I will spend the rest of my life gleaning from the life that he lived. And for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.

Papaw’s life was lived to the fullest and most important of all – it was lived for Jesus.

Tyler Speegle

Tyler is a husband, dad, serious coffee drinker, and inspirational blogger with a passion to help others see Jesus as He truly is – a personal and relational God. His writing has been featured in various publications such as the Huffington Post, The Blaze, and others. He lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Courtney, and son, Asher.

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