Letter to Bob Gregson
Bob, when we first met in 1984, you were living a life of frustration, trying to get your father to pass on the business to you and Ron. There was “bad blood” between you and your father. Maybe you remember. (Not long ago, you described his last days with scorn and cynicism.) During those days in the ‘80’s, I spent hours and hours and hours with you, not only on spiritual matters but you were asking me many questions and seeking my opinions on your problems with your father and the business.
During that time of consulting, I asked the Lord for an answer in every situation, and He answered me every time, with many persons, you included. In your case, you will recall that God revealed to me that you needed to begin to love your father, to treat him with respect, not to get the business, but to do what was right, that the problem was with you, not with your father. He was, after all, your father, no matter how much he fell short of being what he should be or what you expected of him. You were fairly seething at him. I recall you often complaining, even sarcastically, about him and his ways. You were wrong in spirit and attitude, though perhaps the matters spoken of were not necessarily erroneous.
As a result of your attitude, you made it practically impossible for him to graciously pass on the business to you. It would have been like asking him to get on his knees to you, or to give a customer a 50% discount on all goods and services simply because he or she impudently demanded it. I do not believe I am exaggerating. Your attitude was contemptuous of him, whether he deserved it or not. I told you to change your attitude, that you needed to honor him as a father according to the commandment, to love him.
You began to act civil and tolerant toward him. Within months, he began to relent in his resistance to your wishes. Things turned and he was on his way, with a semblance of freedom, to do that which he really wanted to do anyway but was prevented and discouraged by you. It was a matter of dignity disallowed from a direction most hurtful, that of a son, though I am not saying that he did not sow for it.
At that time, for my part, I had three questions I needed answered. In those few months, I had them all answered, concluding in the court trial with Ray Spencer. The questions were: Who do I counsel, do I charge, and how do I charge, if I do? In the midst of getting answers to those questions, I was floundering, and you were there to take full advantage of it. You were as tight as rings on a cow’s horns for dehorning. Though your ways greatly vexed me, I had to let it go.
In the time to come, you continued to ply me for advice, where others would be required to pay thousands of dollars for the time spent. You obviously expected or wanted and got it for nothing, or didn’t think it was worth anything, though it didn’t stop you from continuing with friendliness and flattery and humor to get what you were after. Often you would tell me how much you respected my input. If you thought it worthless, that was not reflected in your praise.
Rather than openly declaring my feelings and thoughts about how I felt used and abused, I began to be silent and withdrew commentary (sulk, if you will, and I think one might have a case for classifying it as such). You quit calling and we parted ways.
In the mean time, the Lord, having answered all my questions through experience, led me where I needed to go. I was to counsel those He would choose, those He was calling to Himself, without charge, and He would take care of my needs and concerns.
I have not charged a cent since, have counseled many, and the Lord has greatly blessed both me and those who heeded what I was given to say to them. His counsel and answers were not for unbelievers. To give to unbelievers would be out of line. As Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, who came crying for help:
“I have been sent only to the lost sheep of the people of Israel” (Matthew 15:24 GNB).
And: “It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs” (Matthew 15:26 GNB).
Nevertheless, she was importunate, had faith, demonstrated great humility, and was granted her request. Her faith was evident in that she was not deterred by His reply. Her humility was thus manifested:
“That’s true, Sir, she answered, but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their masters’ table” (Matthew 15:27 GNB).
“So Jesus answered her, You are a woman of great faith! What you want will be done for you. And at that very moment her daughter was healed” (Matthew 15:28 GNB).
The mother was crying out for one she loved, for another’s sake. You were asking for what you loved. God still did not deny you.
I knew you were not His, though you tried to talk as though you were. You were hard, selfish and unbelieving all the way. I recall at Bluefox you even said you thought of hitting me in defiance when I spoke of how the Lord protected me. Your father used to call you “his nibs,” which I declared to you was an accurate assessment. It is no less appropriate today.
I walked away; you walked away. I had learned that if I gave my time and energies to unbelievers, it would be vexing and vain. It was not God’s will for me. I remember, while struggling about you before the Lord, having a vision. I saw you with a sobriety and deep respect for the truth. I heard the words, “A strong angel will go with him wherever he goes.”
I have yet to see that come to pass. As it stands, I perceive you to be contemptuous of my person and walk in the Lord, and certainly of Him. You have no idea or belief whatsoever that it was by me that your business was delivered into your hand, by my prayers and instrumentality. God gave me the key to unlock the door for you, because I asked Him for it. Yet all you had received was worth no more than $300 to you! I knew that I could not charge any longer, and truly, the Lord said, “Freely you have received, freely give.” When you proposed doing $300 worth of printing for me in a kind of gratuitous payment, I decided that unless something were given out of gratefulness and godliness, rather than out of obligation, I would not accept it. I also thought, “What a small-minded, ungrateful, hardhearted cheapskate!” Later, when I was doing some writing, you offered to do some copies for me and while I did some, I was later very sorry that I had. I felt dirty, and did not return for any more.
I also had come to understand that those to whom God led me to minister would bring of tithes and offerings, according to the Scriptures. I looked for fruit from you. I knew that money was an idol to you, and that if you were to recognize spiritual value in what I was ministering to you, and were to give offerings, it would be an indication of something good working in you. I was trying to get a commitment out of you, a proving if you will. Of course, that is like tying apples to a tree to see if it will be an apple tree. I was wrong. If it isn’t there, it isn’t there.
In the years to come, I went elsewhere for printing, as you know. It was not until recently that I decided I would give you the business, regardless of the past gravel in my mouth in dealings with you, not because you were buying some meager amounts of product from us, not to motivate you to buy more, not hoping to collect anything, but simply to give it to you, because regardless of what has happened and the way you have been, I have not held bitterness toward you. On the contrary, I have been fond of you. Believe it or not, recent events to the very present have not changed that, not that it matters. Carnal friendship does not profit. It brings only trouble by disillusionment. I recall writing Friend, Are You?, based on our relationship.
While the business cards were not a problem, the brochures came to be a good reminder of my original experience with you. I know…you have your arguments and defence. On the one hand, you chide me for asking a price, saying you have so many that trust you and do not ask a quote, while on the other hand, you chide me for not having asked the price before the printing was done. When I walked in there, I wanted a price on colored paper and to keep the cost to a minimum without unduly compromising on presentability. There is no doubt that the brochures we had with the inexpensive paper would have done well, as with those we had done at Paper Boy and Mailboxes. Because of the “mix-up,” I had to suffer the penalty of a double price.
Technically, you can walk away, absolving yourself of any responsibility, though I would argue that you were certainly not taking care of my interests. Of course, you could also argue, “Who are you that I should give you special attention? I have ‘thousands’ of orders coming across my desk. I don’t have time; neither do I care what you do with your stuff. It isn’t my job.” It seems you quoted something like that to me concerning someone who had a similar query or objection.
All you could say was that time was the culprit or cause, and “I bet you won’t do that again.” Yes, Bob, I will try to watch for that if there is a next time, but I must confess that I have been quite disappointed with you and your arrogant, self-important, merciless attitude. Your past ways revisited me, full and hard. I feel that all that ever happened in the past and for the way you were able to receive your business by me (not that it was my power or genius, the credit goes to God, yet those who have been grateful to God for what they have received have treated His servants with decency and honor), that you could have had a different reaction altogether. You and your family have made millions with my help and I am treated like the street stranger getting some casual printing done, like it or lump it.
Concerning your family, I expect that you and they are oblivious to their torment and wretchedness. I speak of Lynn, Kathryn and Courtney (excuse spellings). I feel badly for them, and feel like grabbing and placing a supernatural, all-encompassing, healing hug on all of you, and having the joy and satisfaction of your deliverance and healing from physical, mental and spiritual captivity, crippledness and torment. If you all only knew! Jesus said:
“The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness” (John 10:10 GNB).
I see the horrible ravages of the enemy on you and your family. I don’t know that you or they or others see anything. The course and stance you have taken these past decades has left its mark on all, and it is anything but good. Can it be worse? There is always relativity to fall back on for justification and rationalization, isn’t there? I have been silent on these things, Bob, as you know. Have I been right to be so? God knows. I will not withhold any longer.
I know that before the Lord, I can expect no more from you, your not being a believer and being contemptuous of the things of God (you surely think otherwise, having a carnal belief). I also must be willing to suffer wrong patiently. Yet, today I was given to express these things. On the one hand, I am vexed by the way you have treated me, but on the other, I thank the Lord for these circumstances to bring all this to the surface.
Is the lesson that I need to watch and confirm the paperwork before proceeding? To you it is so; to the Lord it is not and to me it is not. Water should not be carried in leaky buckets; some will not reach that which has need and purpose of it. He shows me that I need to direct my energies where He leads and not where He does not. Where He does, I am honored; where He does not, I am despised, notwithstanding the friendliness, smiles and flatteries.
No bitterness or unforgiveness here Bob, as it may otherwise seem. Just some candidness and honest expression of how I feel about it all. I owe it to the Lord, to myself, and to you.