Thursday, March 28, 2019

We Could Take a Lesson from a Former Teacher

The subject of my blog is not usually an individual, but today I'm making an exception.  Actually, I'm going to talk about a couple, a humble power couple who have balanced humility with power, wealth, and fame, outside of Washington DC or Hollywood.  Bill and Gloria Gaither have been an amazing team for over 1/2 a century and today Bill is 83 years old.  Although I don't know them personally, their track record is public and that's what I want to share.

They began as school teachers in a small town in Indiana and even after composing "He Touched Me," they continued teaching school for a few more years.  The first point I'd like to make, is they have an amazing work ethic, and continue to work all these years later.  I don't know their net worth, although I'm sure it's nothing to sneeze at, they live in the same home they bought in the 60s while teaching school.  Without a doubt, they could have retired in the comfort of continuing royalties many years ago, and certainly at 65, but they didn't.  I honestly do not believe this 83 year old man is still doing what he's doing "for the money!"

Some of their songs are printed in hymnals.  Who remembers hymnals?  They are among the few songwriters whose songs are in hymnals while still living!  Not to discount Gloria in this, but today is not her birthday.

They continued to teach school while they wrote, introducing their work to their own church choir, as well as family singing groups and quartets that Bill admired as a teen.  "He Touched Me" was written in 1963, but it would be nearly a decade before that song changed their lives.  When Elvis and a few other well-known singers of the day recorded "He Touched Me," they quit their day job.  To this day, when he speaks to young music majors, he is very clear in telling them, "Don't quit your day job!"  Young people are still very much a priority, and our Heavenly Father graciously brought both of them out from careers in the Public Education System to use their
G-d given talent to bring Him glory.

As the name, Gaither, became a household word in Christian churches and homes, the number of Gaithers in their own home increased.  They have three children and I'm not sure how many  grandchildren, some of whom are adults, themselves.  Out of respect for the older servants in song ministries, Bill and Gloria hosted a "reunion" of many of the long recognized and well-known names in gospel music, such as Goodman and Speer.  The "reunion" that was intended as a single event became another part of their legacy in "The Homecoming Videos."

Bill Gaither has given dozens of young singers a wonderful platform to begin their ministries and/or careers, as well as keeping memories of George Younce, Rex Nelon, and Jake Hess alive for these next generations.  He's shared his stage with many other groups, who would not be so well known without the Gaither spotlight.  Beyond his talents in music and songwriting, he is gifted to recognize and spotlight the talents of others.  
  
Although some Christian vocalists have had some reported personal problems, there is no record or report of anyone leaving under discord.  A few have said, however; trying to keep up with Bill Gaither wears them out . . . but they keep getting on that bus and stage with him.  Many have launched into their own solo careers, but return for the reunions, or can be seen in the crowds.  The relationships come across as very genuine.  To work together daily, travel like family and continue to get along, is an amazing feat, not accomplished by just everyone.

The number of different denominations under the same roof for concerts, homecoming videos and cross country bus tours is mind-boggling.  Unlike social media, these folks just love the opportunity to praise our Heavenly Father and enjoy fellowship!  Truth be told, as my life took this crazy change and need for adjustment, the old southern gospel and Gaither Vocal Band have been a real blessing. 

Mark Allen Powell described Mr. William James Gaither in the following manner.
He's a curious hybrid
of poet and industrialist
of bumpkin and guru,
of living legend
and modest disciple.

Bill Gaither has worked with a group and certainly spotlighted this group, taking them from the small churches of Appalachia to the national stage.  Since this is the blog for Psalm 133 ministries, I'd like to share this video by the Isaacs.  
Hinei Ma Tov  
Behold how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity
                                                                                                 from Psalm 133