Christian Lessons From My Father

I have spent the past week taking care of my dad. Right now he is just a shell of the man he was before two strokes impaired him. While he spends time napping each day I have been walking around the house looking at pictures and pieces of memorabilia. It all has me thinking about the lessons he has taught me through my life.

1. It’s never too late to change
He did not become a Christian until the age of 33. The second half of his life was spent serving Jesus and growing in his walk with him. I did not know him before he became a Christian. I do know that his life after Jesus showed that he truly made Jesus the Lord of his life when he became a Christian.

2. Involvement is Important
As a child I have memories of my dad playing silly games with a group of teenagers at our house. It wasn’t till I was older that I understood it was a Church youth group. He went on to be a Church usher and then deacon and finally an elder. He has taught Sunday school, lead the Church and been involved in dozens of ways in the local Church. I don’t know that I have ever heard my dad teach or even seen him in a leadership meeting, but I knew he was there. His involvement left an impression on me through the years and still does today.

3. Love Your Family
I have never doubted my dad’s love for me. He has cheered me on, supported me, given me more than he should and told me he loved me regularly. They not only took care of all three of us as kids but also into our adult lives. Even on this trip where I came to take care of him he slipped two fifty dollar bills into my hand. Of all the words and phrases that have escaped his capabilities since the stroke, “Love you” is not one of them.

4. Connect to Other Christians
Mom and dad have been longtime members of one Church. They have attended the same Sunday School class for years. They have gathered with groups of other Christians to play cards on a Friday night each month for as long as I can remember. They were a part of the Church’s Seniors Group. Through the years they have developed some deep relationships with other believers who are supporting them through their current struggles.

5. Finish Strong
The last 14 months have not completely reflected my dad’s commitment to the Lord. He had to give up teaching. Slowly he became less involved and right now it is real difficult for him to even attend Church. But the weekend that his first stroke hit he was still planning to teach Sunday School. He taught right up until the age of 80. He was a Church elder up until the age of 76. I know that if he were able, he would step up and teach this Sunday. I know he would step up as a leader if he thought he were needed. His commitment is as strong at 81 as it was 20 years ago.

As I walk around dad’s house I saw a lot of things. He has collected all kinds of antiques, lots of pictures and paintings along with a lot of junk. When he is gone there will be numerous items to go through, but those will not be his legacy. His life will be measured by the impact he had for the Lord.

Maybe the bigger question is, “What will your legacy be?”

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