A Portrait of Faithfulness and Generosity: D.D. Davis

In a world where name recognition and climbing the corporate ladder is praised, it can be rare to find a picture of faithfulness, humility, and generosity. The Gideons International is an organization of Christian business and professional men and their wives who take success in life and business and submit it to God to use for the betterment of His Kingdom here on earth.

David Dale Davis, often referred to as “D.D.,” was such a man. A prime example of selflessness, God used D.D. in many ways to impact his fellow Gideons, local church, community, and the world. He and his wife of 62 years, Velma, were partners in life and ministry. Together, they had two daughters, Bev and Louis Anne. The following snapshot of his life shows how God uses people who have a calling and passion to win people to Jesus Christ.

The Successful Businessman Who Gave Back

As a successful businessman, D.D. used his resources to fund many things in his lifetime, like the YMCA in Youngstown, Ohio—it is known today as The Davis Center. D.D., a lover of art, helped expand The Butler Institute of American Art on the campus of Youngstown State University, the largest American art museum in the United States. In fact, the director of the art institute, Lou Zona, knew how much the Youngstown State University Scripture distribution day meant to D.D. “This was D.D. Davis’ favorite day of the year—the day we distributed College Testaments on YSU’s campus,” he recalled. 

Global Impact

While these local establishments meant much to D.D., he also had a heart for global impact—using the resources God blessed him with to reach and equip people all over world. The most notable impact was on the life and ministry of well-known Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias. After hearing him speak at a conference in Ohio, D.D. saw a unique gifting in Ravi to clearly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ with dignity, and equip believers to defend their faith, regardless of their religious background. D.D. graciously provided funding to Ravi for the upstart of his ministry. Little did D.D. know, the amount of money he gave was the exact amount needed. This funded a three-story building in India for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries—a place for ministry to thrive and for pastors to study abroad. D.D. continued to mentor, encourage, pray for, and financially provide for Ravi and his ministry. He gathered other businessmen to come alongside him in this endeavor. 

“My parents’ testimony is one of putting God first in all things. We own nothing—God owns it all. He gives us gifts and talents, all we do is administer these things.” –Bev Davis, daughter of D.D. and Velma Davis

A Life Well-Lived

In January 2002, D.D. went with another couple to Antarctica. At the time, it was the only continent in the world he had not previously visited. True to the calling of a Gideon, D.D. had a heart for personal witnessing and loved sharing Testaments with those he encountered in his travels. D.D. loved the fact that completing the trip meant he had the opportunity to have been on every continent in the world sharing the Gospel. 

D.D. passed away in November 2002. What stands out about his life was his commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the humility he displayed in living out the Great Commission. 

Bev Davis, daughter of D.D. and Velma, said this about the testimony of her father and mother: “My parents’ testimony is one of putting God first in all things. We own nothing—God owns it all. He gives us gifts and talents, all we do is administer these things. My dad was a doer. ‘No’ was not in his vocabulary—all for the glory of God.”

As Christ followers, we are committed to making the name of Jesus known. Our goal is to be good stewards of the time, resources, and gifts God has given us in order to see people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Praise God for D.D.’s faithfulness and the many contributions he made to build the Kingdom. His acts of generosity and how he associated with others for service—both key actions of Gideons—played a big role in how he joyfully fulfilled his calling to serve the Lord. People worldwide are still benefiting from his dedication and life’s ambition—to advance the Kingdom.

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