As I consider people who have helped and influenced me in my early decision to preach, up to this point, I have talked about older people. However, in this article, I am going to add a peer to this list. David Roach grew up in the same home town as I did. However, we weren’t friends. In fact, all I knew of David was that he was a guy you wanted to steer clear of.
However, around the years 1978-1980 (I don’t remember exactly), David and his wife, Pam were converted. And suddenly David’s life changed; and changed in a way that I had never before witnessed. David became passionate about serving Jesus. During this time, we became good friends, and as I went off to Freed-Hardeman to be trained to preach, David and his wife went to the East Tennessee School of Preaching for the same purpose.
During the time leading up to David and me going to school and while we were in school, we studied together. We read debates and argued with each other, sharpening our reasoning skills. We read and re-read Brother Thomas B. Warren’s debates and books. We had Bible studies with a religious leader in a local religious sect. And through the years we have attended debates and lectureships together in pursuit of better equipping ourselves to serve the Lord.
Although David didn’t help me make the decision to preach (I had already made that decision by the time we became friends), David helped me to be more passionate about Bible study. David taught me the power the gospel has to change lives. He taught me that I should never decide for another person whether they would be interested in the gospel. I would never in a million years have thought that the David Roach I knew of in High School would become a brother in Christ, and one of my most trusted confidants. But the gospel is powerful!
Through the years, if I had a Bible question, or if I needed to bounce a biblical matter off of someone, David Roach would the very first person who came to my mind. His careful, logical, analytical way of thinking, coupled with his willingness to follow truth wherever it leads, and whatever changes it may demand, has been a priceless help to me. We have spent hundreds of hours on the phone together (back in the day before cell phones and when you had to pay long distance charges), discussing biblical matters.
Through the years, we’ve encouraged each other in our respective local works. When the opportunity arose to move to Karns, David Roach was the first person I called to get his advice about the matter. I’ve never had a brother, but if I did, I would have wanted him to be like David; i.e. someone who would encourage me to think, study, and pursue godliness above everything else in this world. From the time that David and I became friends, I always thought the following passage was a good summary of our relationship: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
I’ve been fortunate to have a “David Roach” in my life. He has helped to refine my life and my understanding of Scripture. I hope you can find a friend like this too! Thanks, Roach!