Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ode to Dad

I actually wrote this a few years ago, but somehow it seems appropriate to re-post it for Father's Day. I miss my Dad so much!

When I feel like complaining, I think of my dad. Not because he was a complainer – quite the opposite! My dad suffered physically for most of his adult life and yet I can’t recall a single time when I heard him complain. As I think about the way my dad lived, I am reminded to take my focus off myself and my own personal pain and put it back where it belongs – on Jesus. Dad lived every day as an example of Christ’s love. As we saw his funeral flooded with more flowers than the front of the church could hold and the floral arrangements spilling over into the aisles along each side of the church auditorium, it became clear that our dad’s life had touched nearly everyone in the little town where he lived his life. Dad had been the hands and feet of Jesus to the people God put in his path every day. He gave what he didn’t have and trusted God to make it up.

I have a vivid memory of the bum who spent his days sitting in front of my dad’s store. Many were the times when Dad filled up a bag of groceries from his shelves and sent it home with a man most people ignored. Everyone who came into Dad’s store needing food left with that need met, whether they could pay or not. Each person was greeted with a smile and a handshake. Dad's Bible often lay open on his desk in the customer service center where he held watch over his business. Dad was a true Christ-follower in both word and deed.

As a child, I watched my father model self-sacrifice as he willingly gave of himself when he saw a need. He followed the example of Jesus as he showed a genuine love for people, even those others might not consider worthy. The cut of a man’s clothing or the size of his bank account meant nothing to my dad. He taught me by his actions that I must learn to see each person through God’s eyes. My dad lived the truth of Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Dad continually trusted God to provide for both the physical needs as well as the emotional needs of our family. He worked hard even on days when he was in pain and knew that God would honor his commitment to provide for his family. By his example, he taught us to work hard and play hard and trust God to be faithful to His promises. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I learned from my dad that I never need to worry about my future. I grew up seeing God’s provision in my dad’s trust and have continued to see that provision to this very day.

Of course, as a typical human, I am often tempted to think I deserve more than I have or that my life is too hard. Sometimes I fall into self-pity and wonder why God does not intervene on my behalf. Sometimes I get frustrated with life and people and wonder why God doesn’t give me something better. It’s in those times of human failure that My Father reminds me of my father, and once again I understand that the life I live is not about me. Its about Him. Thanks, Dad, for teaching me that, and by the way, Happy Father’s Day! Can’t wait to see you when God calls me home.