As my dad—my hero—got married this past weekend, I shared a few words to honor his life, new wife, and the season that is ahead. One of these was a quote from novelist E.W. Howe:
“A young man is a theory, an old man is a fact.”
Age cements the facts of someone’s life; how they’ve lived and acted and the decisions they’ve made. In studying my dad, I have realized that character is central to anyone who answers the holy call of ministry.
My dad is a man who loves God and creation more than anyone I know. His testimony could besummed up by Acts 20:24 (ESV):
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Through more than 73 years of public ministry, this giant of the faith has lived out this Scripture—holding nothing back. He is a skilled speaker and evangelist who has successfully established hundreds of churches and proclaimed the Gospel to millions. Yet, despite all these accomplishments, the mantra he passed on to me is:
Your giftedness has nothing to do with character. The measure of a leader is not their talent but their testimony.
My dad—a fearless leader—has taught me that God has called each of us to live life to the fullest. And we must call others to do the same.
Many call my dad “Papa” or “Uncle Bob,” in recognition of the spiritual heritage he has birthed in their lives. One of the most important things my dad has shared with them is the knowledge that they have not been born to simply live life on earth, but to live in light of eternity. And to live a life of abundance!
“The ways of right-living people glow with light;
the longer they live, the brighter they shine.” Prov 4:18 (MSG)
On every step of his missional life, my dad has always paused to take joy in every moment of the journey. Climbing mountains, running on beaches, scaling monuments, and, of course, eating in top-rated restaurants all along the way!
And in his 80’s, he’s not stopping anytime soon. His 2017 calendar includes visiting 22 nations! It is the continuation of the holy call he received as a little boy to testify to the Gospel and grace of God.
Thanks, dad, for showing me that it is character and the daily living of a life fully sold-out to God that makes a great leader.
Rev. Bob Hoskins and Helen Goree were married on December 17, 2016. Helen and her late husband, Robert, pastored for more than 4 decades. Later, she carried on a pastoral role with her daughter and son-in-law, Tom and Robin VanKempen. Now, Helen will be joining the OneHope family and be a ministry support and companion to Bob on his continued travels and ministry endeavors.