My dad turns 74 this Monday. What a blessed 74 years he’s had so far. I’m glad I got to be there for almost half of them. He’ll be enjoying God’s grace for 74 billion ages into eternity. Here are 7 of the hundreds of lessons I’ve learned from him to honor him this year.
Things I’ve learned from my Father:
1. Love the church by being present
My dad was at every Sunday and Wednesday church gathering our church had. And I was always with him. Hebrews 10.24-25 tells us to consider how to stir one another up to love and good work, not neglecting meeting together as some habitually do, but all the more as you see the day drawing near. I learned from my dad that you can’t encourage if you’re not there and that if you are there that’s more than half of your encouragement minisitry in itself. Even until this day my dad and mom have a high commitment to being personally present with the church family when she gathers.
2. Lead the family with the Word no matter how little you might know at first
I remember my dad, as a new Christian, leading our church in family devotions. We’d sing a song, he would read a devotion from the daily bread and assign someone to read the Scripture passage, and then he’d explain it. Then we’d pray together. As a pastor today I don’t use the daily bread to lead my family devotions. But I’m glad my dad did because he was teaching me that as a man, husband and father you lead and initiate and you give it all you got, even if what you have is not much at first.
3. Read your bible and pray everyday
I used to stay in my parents’ room with them in the evenings and we would all be doing our devotions. My dad would have his big bible at the table, my mom would read her bible on the bed, and I’d be on the bed too with my yellow one year children’s bible story book. That was almost every night as a child during a particular season. My dad showed me that men read the Word and pray.
My dad is hilarious. And he loves to joke around. Our whole family does and that often comes from him. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Laughter is a gift from God and it helps when there are other conversations in the home that need to be more serious.
5. Be generous
My dad loves to give. He’s a cheerful giver. Whether it was asking for money for snacks or basketball cards he was always good for a buck or two whenever we went to church gatherings. Our church met in a plaza with all kinds of stores so there was always a place to buy something. My dad loves seeing his sons happy and he loved being the one to be able to give them money or a treat to see us smile.
6. Work hard
We always had our needs met because my dad always worked. And he worked hard. We never worried about the finances. We never felt we were really in a pinch as a family. We always had enough and my dad always worked hard. My dad was a valedictorian. He showed me that brains are not enough but must be coupled with effort and focus.
7. Love your wife
Husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the church (Eph 5.25). My dad loves and cares for my mom. He defends my mom. As sons becoming men it was crystal clear that we are not to disrespect our mom in any way. If we did, we felt dad’s wrath. Rightfully so. He provides for my mom. He makes my mom laugh. He drives her crazy yet fills her affections.