Prior to becoming permanently disabled with Multiple Sclerosis, I had the privilege of working for about 14 years with
Dealer Associates, Inc (DAI) with corporate offices located in Arlington, Texas. DAI provides an array of products, training, and consultative services to franchised automobile dealers. Although I was invited to have partial ownership when DAI was first established, I opted to work as an independent representative since I was also serving as a pastor of a small church here in Houston.
As my disease worsened, I guess it occurred to me that my days of employment were numbered. “Apart from a miracle, eventually I’m not going to be able to work.” I was a young man, in my early 40’s, with no retirement or hope of earning more income. I had no substantial savings or investments. This wasn’t supposed to happen at my age. Needless to say, my outlook for the future was not very encouraging. “What am I going to do when I’m no longer gainfully employed? How will I be able to provide for my wife and children?” Disability income would certainly help, but it would fall short of covering even our basic household needs. I realized Paula would not be able to start working outside our home, she would be occupied as my primary caregiver. Yes, I confess, I worried and experienced a range of tormenting emotions that were not Christ-centered.
At one particular company meeting in about 2003, the day I regretted finally came. I had grown physically weaker with each passing day and, in my opinion, was becoming more of a liability than an asset to the company. It was becoming more difficult to walk and complete a full work day. In fairness to the two business owners, Tony Fincannon and Rick Messinger, I felt I should at least let them know I wasn’t going to be able to continue working much longer and perhaps they should consider looking for someone else to replace me in the greater Houston market. Limping into Tony’s office, with a knot in my throat and holding back tears, I labored to tell them I was not sure how much longer I could work. I was not bringing any “new” business in and it was more and more difficult to service the accounts I had.
Unbeknownst to me, Tony and Rick had already discussed my obvious physical decline and had made plans to do something about it. “Forrest, we don’t want you to worry, we’re going to take care of you and your family.” Can you imagine what those words meant to me? Think about that. How many men do you know who would make that type of commitment? I cannot describe the feelings of relief, gratitude, and encouragement that flooded my soul at that moment. I felt a huge burden being lifted. They certainly didn’t “owe” us anything and they were not contractually obligated to continue any financial assistance, yet from hearts of love and kindness they were committed to do so. Later that night in my hotel room, I fell to my knees and thanked God for His goodness. I thanked Him for Christian brothers like Tony and Rick who are willing to be used to minister to the needs of a weaker brother. I don’t need to tell you, this is not a small matter. God’s provision through DAI has gone on now for over four years.
They are not seeking any praise, so why am I praising and publicly acknowledging these men for their honorable work? The Scripture says, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger and not thine own lips
” (Proverbs 27:2). Words of appreciation will never adequately express our gratitude and thankfulness, but I want to honor them in this small way for their sacrifice and solicitude. When you pray, would you please remember the good people at Dealer Associates? And ask yourself this, how does God want to use me to serve and minister to others? It may be in mailing out a card or letter of encouragement. It might be intercessory prayer. He may want you to provide some manual labor for the elderly or the sick. Maybe it’s providing a meal or simply a word of exhortation. Or, like Tony and Rick, He might want to use your financial resources to bless someone in need. We can each be assured, no deed or good work is to small or irrelevant if Christ directs you to do it! Follow the Good Shepherd and He will guide you.
(Pictured below top to bottom. Tony Fincannon, President and Rick Messinger, Vice President