Dalton Mansel, (1939-2015), came to ministry by accident but remained with purpose (Colossians 3:23).
Born into a hardscrabble existence, he acquired a work ethic that would burn brightly until his final moments. For 76 years he labored so that his final days were filled with the language of work, orders and management.
His body and spirit refused to remain at rest (Proverbs 13:4).
As he labored more than half a century in retail–forty of them in management–he served God and his family tirelessly (Exodus 4:2; 1 Timothy 5:8).
At age nine, he began delivering newspapers on his bicycle. As a young man he started a neighborhood baseball team that took on all-comers. He committed himself to play catcher so he would always have a place on the field. He tried out for a major league team to pursue his dream.
As he worked to excel in jewelry and in management, he was personally interviewed by Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, before spending several years as a Regional Vice-President in their Jewelry division. Despite health challenges, he persevered.
While in management with ALCO, he and his wife moved to Cherokee, Oklahoma where he found a group of Christians contemplating closing down when they lost their preacher. Dad took on the responsibility and learned how to preach.
At night, tired from his day, he would read and study. Later, in Virden, Illinois, he gave all he had to ALCO and to the Lord. Through his labors, the brethren were blessed and loved.
As his health declined, Dad left management, but he continued to preach and served for a time as an elder. When his beloved bride unexpectedly died, he grieved but persevered, giving himself completely to his lessons.
When his health would no longer allow him to teach, his heart broke. He was never the same again. Days before his death, he said that he had to get a new series of sermons written. He wouldn’t stop.
Countless men follow a linear path to preaching while others find themselves thrust into the position. Dad accepted the offer with gusto and never turned back.
Through his example I serve today.