Been thinking about my dad this week. I suppose it is because fishing season is upon us and with every trip, I want to call dad and tell him about it. As my thoughts turn toward his life, I am reminded of several memories I have that were spiritual in nature and helped to shape my life.
1. Sitting in the Old Green Truck. Dad had an old Ford pickup that I spent countless hours sitting in as we drove to hunt, trap and fish. I always sat in the middle, and my brother sat by the door. Never a great place if you are looking for comfort, but I never had to get out and open the gate. It was there in that truck that my dad explained the gospel to my brother. He spoke of the cross, salvation and eternal life in heaven. I don’t know if dad was aware of how I hung on his every word. It was sitting there that I decided I wanted to give my life to Christ. Sure, I went forward on Sunday morning and made a confession of faith and was baptized, but sitting in that truck with my dad is where I made those fledgling decisions of faith.
2. After my Baptism. Two events happened minutes after I was baptized. My brother and I had gone forward together after hearing dad speak. First, my dad came into a little room with us and shared communion. The three of us took the bread and the cup and had a moment of silent reflection on the decision we had just made. Then we walked out of that room, and my brother began crying. Dad grabbed him and held him there in the back hallway of the Church. I asked dad why he was sad and he said, “One day you will understand this.” He was right, I did not at that moment understand the complete gravity of our decision, but dad did, and so did my brother. It was one of the most beautiful moments I witnessed with my dad and brother together.
3. Baptizing My Son. My oldest boy was very close to his grandfather or Pappy as we called him. It was really no surprise to me when he decided to follow Jesus and be baptized that he wanted his Pappy to be a part. There in my home Church, the family gathered, and my dad baptized my son. It is one of the greatest days of my life.
4. Looking at His Old Bible. After his first stroke, I sat in his chair and saw his Bible. Picking it up I saw page after page of handwritten notes. His cursive writing made many of his notes hard to decipher. Flipping through the pages, I noticed there was not a section untouched. The edge of the New Testament was stained with the dirt of hundreds of uses. Dad had spent hour upon hour in God’s word, and it showed in his life and on that Bible.
These are just some of the thoughts that bubble to the surface about my father. I guess I share these with you to remind everyone of the impact you have on your children. You have the potential to shape the lives of the next generation. You want them to be good people, then you need to first set the example. You want them to be Godly people then you must be living, learning and sharing your faith. My life is marked by several people, but my father’s imprint is the deepest. Where will your mark be left?