Today is David’s birthday. He is not related to us, but he is a great combination of both son and friend. Just a couple of years younger than our son, David lives nearby and we see him at many church events and privately when we share a meal. He and Steve meet for lunch or breakfast most weeks, though life sometimes interferes.
David is muscular and incredibly strong. He was a wrestler in high school and it shows. Now he is a fire fighter/paramedic and also he and his wife Laura are our youth and family ministers. His energy in vocational ministry is remarkable. They are not just our teen leaders; they are life coaches. They have been to every graduation of every teen since they began this work in 1996. They keep up with them and now are their adult friends.
When David enters a room, the atmosphere is charged, even when he says nothing. He has a presence that commands attention and respect. Children run to him, as he throws the smaller ones in the air and catches them and asks the older ones about their sports or musical programs. He keeps up with everyone’s performances and attends nearly all.
David has a remarkable heart for God. He urges the teens to “give God a good name.” He sets that example, being intuitive about people’s needs. His servant heart is shown as he humbly cooks and serves a meal every Wednesday night to anyone who wants to come. It’s the Bread of Life Café, and David is the power behind the project. He buys the food, which is a huge effort, having everything on hand to be cooked on Wednesdays. He’s there every Wednesday except when he has to work as a Captain at the firehouse. He knows the names of the indigent who eat there and has low-key conversations with each. He is eager to help in every circumstance.
Every summer, he works a week at Vacation Bible School and also gives two or three weeks to working at camps for children. At work camps, they restore yards and properties that have fallen into disrepair when the owners are unable to do it themselves. At church camps, campers learn from him and others about the love of God and His Son and how They can direct our lives. Sometimes David is a director and sometimes he is just worker, but it’s all the same to him. He leads camp activities the same way he leads the car-washings that help pay for the camps—with his whole being. No one can doubt his enthusiasm for each child and each job.
During his 17 years as a fire fighter, he has gained the respect of a number of men and women who often have no faith and little regard for religion. So many times he has been asked to conduct weddings and funerals, and he does both with consideration and style. He rarely talks about his experiences with the fire department, although delivering a baby in the back of a car is an interesting story. The grateful mother even named the baby Mason David, in honor of David. Just one of many adventures David has had.
David is always quiet, following his mentor Steve in asking more questions and making few comments. He never makes himself the center of attention, and yet he often is. People are drawn to him. He definitely lives what he urges his protégés to live: David Miller gives God a good name.
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalm 1:1-3, NKJV