Sunday morning I woke up to find that one of the first men to ever take me under his wing in ministry had passed away. I could not believe my eyes. I had to read it again and again before it sunk in. While we haven’t spoken in some time, my life and approach to ministry and relationships carry his impact to this very day. As a young teenager, he was my “Paul.” I cannot accurately nor completely articulate all of the ways Mike Daniel invested in me, but here are a few thoughts.
- He loved me. As a young boy with a heart pointing toward ministry, he opened his arms, his heart, and his family to me. While I have been blessed by so many along the way in life who have loved me, Mike, like no other, truly cared for me. He brought me into his family.
- He showed me how to love others in ministry. The fact is, ministry is hard work. At any given moment, some people are praising you while others are disappointed with you and your decisions. Those who are disappointed tend to be more vocal than the others. But God loves them all. His Church. His people. And that is foundational to how we handle ourselves in the midst of fray. Love others as yourself…even more, as Christ loves His Church (Matthew 22:39).
- He showed me that we must strive for excellence in both life and ministry. He and I shared the desire, as artists, for perfection, but he taught me that, while perfection is unattainable, we must always strive for excellence. Laziness and careless have no place in serving God.
- He taught me about having fun while doing what I love. God has granted me the immeasurable blessing of doing what I love as a “job.” Take your responsibility seriously, but not yourself. Laugh and love.
I could go on and on. Mike Daniel will be missed immensely by anyone who had known him. In so many ways if I am anything today, it is in part because of Mike Daniel.
May the God of all comfort and peace be with his family! I love you all!