My favorite preacher is my father, the late Rev. Leo M. Gray Sr. He lived the word as he preached the word.
I grew up with seven siblings and we never needed anything. We never ate a meal without his blessings and we never went to bed without his presence in the house. No matter how late we stayed out at night, he waited until we got home.
He was a hard worker but knew how to manage money and save money. He made God first in our family. When the streets were not passable on Sunday Mornings, my father conducted church services in our living room.
He taught me to hunt and fish. How to grow watermelons in a garden. He bought an old 1951 Ford sedan and had my two brothers and me help him rebuild the engine.
He provided wise counsel during my troubled spots of adolescence. He was always there and through him I learned the power of ministry through presence.
When it came to announcing my calling to ministry, he lead me to the altar and told me what to say: “Tell the church what God has called you to do son.” As I made my announcement, he shouted for joy.
I miss him greatly, but I still benefit from the nuggets of his wisdom: “Every tub has to sit on it’s own bottom”; “Watch your company, know where they are going before you join in”; and “Do right, son, and good will follow you”.
Daddy, I am still trying to be just like you.