My son, listen to your father’s discipline, and do not neglect your mother’s teachings, because discipline and teachings are a graceful garland on your head and a golden chain around your neck.
— Proverbs 1: 8,9 GOD'S WORD Translation
Father’s Day champions faithful and caring dads. Yet what’s a joyful day for many can be difficult for those whose fathers have abandoned them.
I personally am grateful for a father who entrusted his life and his family to God. Called to ministry in a Kansas cornfield at the age of sixteen, Dad has followed the Lord in every respect, as a pastor of several church plants, in missions around the world, and in encouraging other ministers. He is a godly example to many who’ve followed his life’s work and ministry. Following Dad’s retirement from pastoring, he and my mother made more than twenty trips into mainland China. Oh, the stories of redemption that come from their life of ministering together! (Mother went to be with the Lord six years ago next month.)
My dad’s first “brush with temptation” came at the age of fourteen, when he and his fifteen-year-old uncle decided they were tired of their little town and made plans to run away from home. They jumped into an empty boxcar on the Union Pacific train tracks in Lawrence, Kansas and waited for the engine to hook up. While waiting, Dad began to ponder the fact his father was on the road, hauling cattle...which meant my dad’s chores of milking the cow and feeding the chickens—and all the other outside chores—would fall to his already very busy mother, who at the time had five children.
Without saying a word to his rambunctious uncle, Dad changed his mind, jumped off the boxcar, and headed down the hill toward home. It wasn’t long before he heard the tramp of footsteps and turned to see his uncle Henry coming up behind him. Both boys returned home that afternoon to their families. Responsibility and good training had won out!
Even though I heard this story many times growing up, my dad, who will celebrate his eighty-seventh birthday this fall, recently shared this account with me again. It struck me that my dad valued responsibility, love of family, and hard work from even early on. I owe so very much to my godly father, who instilled the same traits in me and my younger sister.
Happy Father’s Day to my dear daddy! And blessings to all the fathers represented here.