Today would have been my dad’s 93rd birthday. Coincidentally, over the weekend, someone tagged me into a thread on Facebook commenting on how my “dad” was an awesome pastor. The author of the post thought my brother, Fred, was my dad. I love letting Fred know these things. He is always so encouraged when people think that his seven-year-younger kid brother is his son. Ha!
While the post was mistaken, I am thankful for a faithful dad who never pastored a church but trained two pastors (and my two sisters – both wonderful Christ followers). Likely none of us would be Christian if my dad hadn’t made the decision to follow Jesus (well, I would not have been born. My parents would have been divorced before that “glorious” day arrived). But Jesus found my dad and, as they say, the rest is history.
My dad worked for Ford for 42 years and never pastored a church, but I do remember on one occasion when he was drafted into preaching. The pastor was sick and someone had to do it. My dad was the choice—I don’t remember one word he said. It may have been his only “official” sermon, but he preached plenty to my siblings and me every day. It made all the difference. We were watching and listening.
So what are the main lessons that my dad “preached”?
1). Consistency. My dad was the exact same person at home, at church, anywhere.
2). No Job for the Lord was too small. When you attend a little church, there are few people to do all of the jobs. My dad did a little bit of everything. Served on the board. Taught Sunday School. Usher. Janitor. Lawn Mow-er. Maintenance man. You name it. He did it.
3.) Don’t rob God. Tithing was important. Generous with our money—but also generous with our talents and time.
4). No talking bad about church folks in general and pastors in particular. I don’t think it’s a shock that Fred and I became pastors. We never heard a bad word about the pastor in our house. Looking back, not all of our pastors were gems. In fact, one embezzled money from the church and took off; another left the Church of the Nazarene on unfavorable terms, and still another one’s marriage fell apart while pastoring the church. I only had five pastors at that church. So (as the math whizzes among us can calculate) 60% of the pastors had issues and yet I don’t remember a bad word spoken about any of these men. Ever. Not in front of us kids anyway.
5). Love God. Love your family. Love the country. Work hard at serving them all. My dad’s generation could teach this current generation on how to be faithful. He lived faithfulness before us, and I am a far better person because of it.
Happy Birthday in heaven, dad!