I’ve been a father for nearly 31 years, now, and I’ve had a loving father for nearly 56 years. So, I’d say I’ve had some experience with fatherhood. Growing up in a Godly home with absolutely wonderful parents, I was blessed with an earthly father who reflected God’s unconditional love to me (and to others). I thought everyone grew up in a home like this.
My earliest memories of my father involved trips to my uncle’s farm to pick corn and other vegetables in the hot summer days. I have fond memories of picking blackberries and filling the buckets until our hands were purple. Ok, the memories are fond, but I’m sure I complained about the actual experience. But my parents taught me through these experiences about the values of family life. While I couldn’t understand (at the time) the value of gathering our fresh food versus acquiring it through purchases at the market, I loved the experience of being with my family. I thought every family was like this.
As a small business owner, my earthly father often sacrificed business for family. I cannot even begin to count the times he would take off work to coach my little league baseball team or come to watch our high school football team practice. I know, it’s hard to imagine me playing high school football, but I did. That’s another story for later. Beyond that, he took valuable time off from work to drive around the state to follow me and my siblings in our sports and other extracurricular activities.
From the time I was a small child, and as I grew up, I saw one particular activity my father did every single day. He never missed it, as far as I know. Every night when I refused to honor the bed-time notification, I would slip into his room to see him sitting in his bed reading his Bible. He never missed a day as far as I knew. And from this activity, he was always teaching us kids about God and His love for us.
To this very day, he still does these things: he gives of himself and his time for his family with unconditional love, and he never misses a day to read and learn from God’s Word. He uses his words carefully to teach and express some Truth from the Bible. As I look back, I reflect on the greatest disciple-maker I have ever known or known of. My father just didn’t teach about God. He lived the Truths he learned, and he showed me (and others) the way to live those Truths. He invested himself into his children’s lives by making them into disciples of Jesus the Christ–and we didn’t even realize we were being discipled! He was simply following the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 as best he could. Something all us fathers should do. My father is a truly amazing man of God who I admire and respect more than anyone else who has ever walked on this planet, other than my Savior Jesus Christ.
I think my greatest calling, one of my highest goals in life, is to honor my Heavenly Father and my earthly father by making disciples of my own children. Being a father is very difficult. Being a good father is even more so. Being a Godly father is essential. When I see the way my sons have grown into men, two of them now fathers, I can easily see the legacy of my father. The Godly Truths he taught me are now being carried on in the generation after me.
Father’s Day to me is a special time to reflect on what an amazing and inspirational man my father was and is. And it is also a day for me to reflect on how well I have passed God’s love to my sons. Looking back, I could have done some things differently, and I wish I could go back and change some of the things I’ve said and done. I’ve only tried to reflect the love my father taught and showed me to the ones God gave to me with the expectation that I should reflect His love to them. I need to reflect on these things every day of my life, not just on Father’s Day.
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