As I was listening to Tim McGraw sing his hit, “Humble and Kind” during the CMA’s the other night, I couldn’t help but think of Tony Bates. Tony has been a faithful supporter of Joseph’s Storehouse for many years now, and we praise God for the Bates Ford sponsorship funds we receive that help us feed the less fortunate in the community.
I sat down with Tony earlier this week and we exchanged testimonies of how God has blessed us more than we could deserve. Tony shared he’d gone from humble beginnings to where he is now, all to the glory of God. He told how, in his younger years, he had been so focused on working and making money that he had lost sight of the more important things in life. Then he had an epiphany and realized he’d rather be broke than be miserable, a point that he emphasized again and again. Humble and kind.
When I asked about Bates Ford, he told me he started working for Mr. Burchett back in February of 1990. Tony would have left in ’94, but Mr. Burchett offered him a partnership with rights to buy him out. So Tony stayed on, and in 2007, after Mr. Burchett’s passing, Tony exercised his option to purchase the remaining stock, and the business became Bate’s Ford. Now Tony also owns two tractor dealerships. God has truly blessed him, and Tony is quick to tell you why. It isn’t because he is something special, he’ll tell you, but because he’s a giver.
Tony gives a minimum of 10% of the profits from his business, plus he gives personally. Then he gives into the community as well. He supports schools, many programs at the fair, local ministries, and of course, Joseph’s Storehouse Food Ministry. He is our largest single supporter, but he doesn’t pat himself on the back about it. He said God told him several years ago, “it ain’t about me.” So Tony began putting money into ministries, and God has poured out His blessings on him.
Folks around Lebanon may know that Bates Ford supports the fair every year, and they may know he supports the schools. In fact, anyone needing funding for any school project will generally knock on his door. However, people may not realize all the extras he does for individuals in need; I won’t share any of his secrets here, but I will say it is amazing all he has been able to do. Tony didn’t share some of those stories with me to toot his own horn- he was giving glory to God. He’s quick to say that he does it because it’s a miracle he is where he is today, and that God has blessed him to be able to do it. God gives it to him so that he can bless others with it. You can’t out-give God. The more you give; the more He blesses you. Tony is living proof of God’s blessings, and he stays humble and kind.
It is that same humility and kindness that has graced Bob & Peggy Evans, Joseph's Storehouse Food Ministry founders, to continue to serve the Wilson County community all these years. God gave Bob a vision to feed the hungry, and He has blessed Joseph's Storehouse with people, like Tony Bates, who hook up with the vision to help those less fortunate than themselves. If you are not already a part of our ongoing support here at Joseph's, let me encourage you to consider partnering with us so that you, too, can enjoy the blessing of giving.