Monday, June 20, 2011

If You Know My Dad

If you know my dad, you know that he is a fairly simple man.  God, faith, family, church, country, and community are the basics of his life and priorities.  Relationships are top of the list; possessions and things are not.  Integrity is of the highest concern; fame and fortune don't matter.

You may know that yesterday during his Father's Day message, he got very choked up as he shared one of the most important things that he wants my brother and me to know - that he is unconditionally committed to our mother until death separates them.  In 38 years of marriage they have weathered life's challenges together, remaining steadfast in their commitment.  I think that commitment is one of the things that defines my dad.  He is a man of his word.  He keeps promises, vows, covenants.

You may know a lot about him, but there is probably much you don't know.  You may not know how witty he is, and how sometimes one simple line he will throw out dryly in the middle of a situation will just make us crack up.  You may not know how much more he gives than he receives, and how generosity is a mark of his character. You may not know the depths of compassion he has for people, and all the times he has sacrificed his own time to visit people in hospitals, nursing homes, or emergencies because he cares.  He is a chaplain of our local police department and is often called to the scene of really tough situations like drownings or tragic deaths to be a spiritual comfort and light to families.  He has lead countless people to the Lord and baptized them through the years, helped counsel marriages in crisis, discipled new believers, clearly taught God's Word and how it applies to daily life, and has encouraged so many on the journey - but gets embarrassed at any recognition for these investments.  His mercy and forgiveness for people who have wronged him amazes and inspires me; his consistency and faithfulness are my example.

Many men will shine brightly when the spotlight is on or there is something in it for them.  Many will work for God as long as it is fun and flashy and exciting. But not all men will shine when few or no one sees.  They say integrity is what you do when no one is watching.  That definition has always reminded me of my dad. However, a little girl was watching with a front row seat.  And what she saw was consistency, commitment, integrity.  What she saw was real, and it made her love Jesus because she saw His love and compassion in her earthly father.

No one is perfect, and my dad is not a perfect man.  But he is a godly man.  He is a good and true man. And in his life I have seen what Micah 6:8 says the Lord requires of us.  Because if you know my dad you know that he does justly; he loves mercy; and he walks humbly with His God.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.  And thank you.  I love you.

My dad, this Father's Day, with his greatest earthly treasures - his two kids and three grandkids.  
(Sadly my mom could not be in this picture because she was at the emergency room with my grandma.) 

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