Dear Sons –
Your dad has spent his life trying to teach you the ways of the world. One day you will go out into that world and face life all by yourself. Let me offer you a few words of encouragement before you go.
First, I hope you will search for a Christian woman when you desire to get married. I know all of you are keenly interested in the opposite sex. Date Christian women and make sure they have a deep commitment. Who you marry is one of the biggest decisions of your life. Don’t settle just for looks, because looks will fade. Don’t settle for personality, because everyone hides their demons. Find a women with Christian character who will love you and raise your children in the ways of God. Down the road you will find nothing more attractive.
Second, find a Church home. Wherever you decide to live, go out and find a Church. Then stick with that Church. You will not always like the sermon or the worship or the leadership. People will make you mad and test your faith. Stay and make a change for the better. Every Church has innumerable flaws. You will not find a perfect Church so find one that you like and allow the people there to help you grow. Unfortunately it takes both good and bad experiences to make you a mature person of faith.
Third, serve the Lord through the local Church. The Church at its best is a group of volunteers who serve the Lord unselfishly. Support the work of the Church. Attend events that people lead for the Church. Help out in every way you can. Invite the preacher into your home and say nice things to him. You know how lonely life can be for a ministry family. I would encourage you to eventually become a leader. One good servant leader is more valuable than gold. You will find that as you serve, attend and lead that your life will be transformed into the image of Christ.
Fourth, listen closely to some of the “senior saints.” You will not believe what some people have been through and held onto their faith. You will be shocked by the sin some have overcome. Many people have gained an enormous amount of wisdom through the years. That doesn’t mean they are always right, but there will be timeless truth in many of their words and practices.
Finally, my boys, no one really prepared me for what real life was going to be like and that’s okay. You figure it out as you go along. I did. All of us did. There is a lot to learn and you will spend a lifetime filling your head with all kinds of useful advice. The important thing is that you develop a life that honors God. Live with integrity and solid character as you move into the future. You faith will never let you down.
When life falls apart, and it will fall apart, hold onto the grace found in Jesus. A Christian wife will stand beside you and your Church will support you with prayer along with covered dishes of food. Then one day you will have your own children. I hope you remember me and my advice with thankfulness and love.