Growing up, my parents did an incredible job of putting me in the path of some very smart and interesting people. One of them was Don Bierle. In high school, I remember many times where my family would meet the Bierle’s for dinner. Those dinners turned out to be two or three hour motivational sessions packed full of life lessons. I loved those dinners. Mr. Bierle could not use his legs and used crutches. But he was very bit as active as anybody I knew. He had an impressive resume and was an accomplished journalist, lawyer, and served as a state legislator. But it’s interesting the things I remember most about Mr. Bierle:
- He loved sports.
- He loved his wife Pat, partners for 51 years. He loved his kids.
- He loved people. But seemed to really pull for the underdog.
- He absolutely loved life and had a zeal that was contagious.
- And most important, he loved the Lord.
Mr. Bierle seeped and leaked Jesus. Now that I have matured more and can look back, I see a man that look to heart the two most important Godly commands. When Jesus said the two most important commands are to love God and to love people; Mr. Bierle lived those two commands out in everyday life. This story is one that I vividly remember and tells so much about this man.
I’m in high school and for some reason, I had to go to Mr. Bierle’s office. His receptionist showed me to his office where his face lights up and he flashes me his huge smile and begins to laugh. You see, Mr. Bierle had a most attractive energy and enthusiasm about him that made a high school kid want to miss the weekend party and go to dinner with a man 50 years older. “Good to see you, come over here,” he said. Mr, Bierle hugs me, shakes my hand, and makes me feel as if I’m the most important person in the world. “Sit down, I have one call to make and then we can go.”
Remember 1989 before there was voice mail or email and people had to pick up the phone? So Mr, Bierle dials up a number and on the other end a receptionist answers. “Hi dear, this is Mark’s Dad, is he available?” Mr. Bierle booms out. “Oh that’s okay, could you please give him a message from me?” And then Mr, Bierle leaves this message for his grown son that still pierces my heart 25 years later.
“Can you tell Mark that his Dad called, just to tell him that I love him....have a great day and thank you.”
What an extraordinary example of love! It was just an ordinary day. It wasn’t his son’s birthday or special event. But this is what happens when Jesus is the priority in somebody’s life. Their life, seemingly ordinary, becomes anything but ordinary and has impact on people decades later.
In 2001, Mr. Bierle went home with the Lord. I can’t wait to see him again and have another one of those dinners.