MINISTRY IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT Andy Hollifield 9-23-17
Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
I watched WLOS news Friday night and saw something that made me ashamed of myself. I saw a story on the “Person Of The Week” by John Le of a friend of mine in Barnardsville named Bud Dillingham. I had found out earlier this week that he was going to be on there as the “Person Of The Week”. A lot of us have thought Bud was that for a long time. I have known Bud ever since my Pastor Bruce West preached a revival meeting at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Barnardsville where Bud attended at the time. I hadn’t been preaching very long when I met him. I was driving my pastor back and forth to the meetings each night. Bud and I struck up a conversation about a bright red Ford Bronco II that I had recently gotten. He talked about how nice it was and I told him the payment book was as thick as a phone book. Every time I seen him after that he would ask if my phone book was getting any smaller and I would say “not fast enough”. That was just our own little joke that we both got a laugh out of.
Our friendship started during that revival meeting in 1987 or 88 I guess and has continued until now. I think that Monday was my day for a lot of years and for some reason I was moved to Tuesday morning between 9 and 10 o’clock. When the phone rings that time of morning we don’t even have to look at the caller ID. If he doesn’t call, we know we need to call and check on him. I can remember probably the first Christmas after I met him, I took him a new phone for Christmas because he had told me once how many phones he had worn out. That was a regular gift for several years along with a plate of homemade peanut butter fudge. I remember the first time I took my wife to meet him after we started dating. She was, let’s just say, a very reserved person. She definitely wasn’t used to all the foolishness that me and Bud carried on with. Bud has a pretty good sense of humor and something one of us said made Diane laugh a little bit. From that day to this he has always called her “Giggles”. Now after her and I being married for over 25 years, she has gotten a lot more used to our cutting up and can hold her own with both of us. Bud is always the same every time you talk to him. Always cheerful even though he may not always feel like being. He started out calling church folk and I think preachers in particular and now anyone that gives him their phone number can expect a call right on schedule every week. It may only last half a minute but it really is a pick-me-up when you’re not having a great day. I doubt that Bud even knows to this day, how much he has touched the lives of everyone that knows him.
I mentioned all of that about Bud for a few reasons. Number one is because I am embarrassed that I wasn’t the one that thought of nominating him to be “Person Of The Week”. My second reason is to pay tribute to a man who has had a remarkable impact on my life. You never leave a visit with Bud without feeling like you got more out of it than he did. My third reason is to illustrate a point. No matter who you are or what circumstances you may be in or what physical limitations you may have, there is still a work you can do for the Lord. He has probably made a bigger difference in the lives of more people than I probably ever will with only a short phone call each week. If Bud Dillingham can be a witness like that for the Lord, what is stopping the rest of us? I tried to decide what scripture to use for this post and the verse in Luke 22 was the one that I felt like summed up Bud’s ministry the best. Before his crucifixion, Jesus told Peter that Satan had desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat. He went on to tell him not to worry because he had already prayed for him. He then gave Peter one command. He told him that when he was converted, “strengthen thy brethren”. Those three words sum up the ministry of Bud Dillingham; he just strengthens the brethren. Nothing fancy and nothing that usually makes headlines, but he just quietly goes about his ministry each day strengthening the brethren.
I have been preaching for 31 years now but I, as well as most people, could take a lesson from Bud. It’s not the big thing that you do that makes the most difference, its just that you do something. The bible says in Proverbs 16:8 “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right”. Another verse, Psalms 37:16 says, “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked”. Bud may have only a little here, but I believe he is one of those people who the rest of us will have to step back out of the way as he walks forward, on his brand new legs, to receive his rewards on judgment day. There will be a lot of those behind the scenes folks that no one knows about that will receive great rewards in heaven because of their faithfulness in the little they had to work with. From his hospital bed in a small room in the head of Barnardsville, NC, a major ministry performs it’s work, one phone call at a time, proving that ministry truly is what you make it. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!