By Keith Greer
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 Jn. 4:8).
On June 18, 1991, at 5:15 p.m., my grandfather, Dillie Perry Greer, finished his course on this earth. That following Saturday, with his wife of more than 61 years, five children, thirteen grandchildren, and thirteen great grandchildren, we laid Grandpa to his final rest. As they did that day, tears run down my cheeks as I remember.
My memories of Grandpa are many and varied. He gave me my first haircut, and since I was the first grandchild, I was blessed in my early years to be around him a lot. Even though he was very strict with me, he always did so with kindness that made me understand that he cared dearly. Not much escaped my Grandpa’s watchful eyes.
When I was about ten, Grandpa instructed me not to pick the strawberries until they were ripe. I love strawberries and decided I couldn’t wait. Well, he caught me and said, “Keith, I told you not to pick them. Go get me a switch.” Thinking that I could delay the punishment, I looked for hours, until dark. Then, I came in and told Grandpa that it was too dark to find a switch. To the best of my recollection, Grandpa had the eyes of a bat, and yes, I was punished. I brought the punishment on myself and, yet, never once did I doubt Grandpa’s love for me. That’s why he corrected me. “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Prov. 13:24). Grandpa always disciplined promptly!
There are many things that I admired about Grandpa. His oldest son, my Dad, did many things that hurt him, and I know he didn’t approve or understand. Yet, not once did I even hear him say a bad word against my Dad. Why? He loved him, of course!
Grandpa had another special quality that stood out. He was the most contented man I have ever known. By the world’s standards, he wasn’t a wealthy man, and, yet, if you were around him, you might think that he was the richest. Always thankful for what he had and understanding that it all came from God, he was a faithful steward (Jas. 1:17; Matt. 25:23). “But godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim. 6:16).
Going to my grandparents’ home, we were always made to feel welcome. The house would be filled with his kids and grandkids, and Grandpa would just beam with pride. I didn’t always do the right thing. Yet, Grandpa’s love for me never diminished. He had a strong hand and tough standards, God’s standards. Never compromising, but with compassion and love he led by example.
In April of this year, I went back to Lowell, Indiana for a gospel meeting. Grandpa came three nights to that meeting. (He would only be able to attend one more worship service afterwards.) On the last night of the meeting, I was standing by the stairs, and Grandpa came up to me with that big, wide grin on his face and said, “Keith, you’ve become a real fine gospel preacher. I’m very proud of you.” Today, that is very special to me, because Grandpa had much to do with why I am a preacher. As I was returning to Las Vegas, I went to say goodbye to Grandpa the next day. We hugged, and I kissed him and told him I loved him and would miss him. Grandpa was crying, and I was crying because both of us knew that this would be our final goodbye on earth!
Grandpa taught me many lessons during his life, and it was my privilege to speak at his funeral. Grandpa was very close to me, and he loved his family dearly, but he loved God first! The greatest comfort that he leaves me, and the greatest example of his life is that he left with eternal hope. For, you see, he died in Christ! “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring those who sleep in Jesus” (1 Thess. 4:14). Thank you, Grandpa, for your time, patience, understanding but most of all for your gift of love!
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 21, p. 647
November 7, 1991