My grandfather

My grandfather died a week ago today. He had an incredibly busy life:
Dr. Cliburn, a native of Newnan, served as Minister of Education of First Baptist Church of Macon from 1954 to 1957, and was then called to be Pastor of First Baptist Church of Thomaston, where he faithfully served for almost 24 years, from 1957 to 1981. He then served on the staff of the Georgia Baptist Convention for nine years. Since his retirement from the Georgia Baptist Convention, he served as interim pastor of 27 churches, and was currently the Treasurer of the Centennial Baptist Association, and was Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church of Thomaston.

Dr. Cliburn also served as Mayor of the City of Thomaston from 1996 through 1999. He was an avid historian and a member of the Upson County Historical Society. In 1999 he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Thomaston-Upson County Chamber of Commerce.
Adding to the above are 26 interim pastorates, writing a long history of the church he pastored, writing another history of the high school his children attended, and a three volume auto-biography that put to paper the sorts of stories that grandparents love to tell their grandchildren, but at such a length to last many hours. He was always on the go, and he was the grandparent with the greatest individual influence on me.

I want to reflect on three aspects of his legacy:
  • Hard work, with support - my grandfather worked long hours of all kinds. He wrote original sermons, ran the church, conducted visitations, planned revivals, and was deeply involved in other parts of the community. However, he did so with the support (and patience) of his wife and family, who kept a "pit stop" ready for him as he hurried about.
  • Loyalty - he chose not to leave his first pastorate when other churches invited him away, and in fact, never held the same job twice. When my grandmother was hit by a stroke that left her hemiplegic (disabled on one half of her body), he nurtured her through the ensuing difficulties and decades of troubled travel. Without a disabled wife, he might have risen higher, but because of his loyalty he kept himself to a job that involved less travel. Yet, I don't think his experience of professional life suffered for it - he still became a mayor, among other honors.
  • Trust and accountability - his life was successful because of the thousands of small decisions he made that were supported by central tenants and ideas, among them accountability. He didn't tolerate slackitude in himself or others (possibly being driven by his own past). 
 I will continue to learn from him for years and years to come.