We shared a lot in common, most notably, a love of sports – especially baseball. Major League Baseball's spring training kicked off over the weekend and I caught myself wanting to call him and talk to him about the Braves, and of course, his favorite team, the Saint Louis Cardinals. I am the sports fanatic that I am today because of him. I am still adjusting to life without him and I suspect I will be adjusting from now on.
A love for sports, however, is not the most important thing my dad instilled in me. He taught me to love Jesus above all. I can remember times as a child when I needed something for school or some other activity, and we would not have any idea how we would get it. He would always remind me that the Lord provides, and sure enough, the Lord did. My dad did not send me to church . . . he and my mom TOOK me. They were there, too, actively serving God. My parents sacrificed to send me to a school where I received solid Biblical training for life. They financed bachelors and masters degrees in religion so I could train to do what God called me to do. My dad taught me that the most important thing in life was NOT possessions, titles, accomplishments, but my walk with the Lord.
Unfortunately, as I observe Christian fathers today, I am afraid many pass on a different set of values to their children both my example and exhortation. Kids see their Christian dads pursue all life has to offer even at the expense of putting God on the back shelf. Dads tell their kids that God is important, but they model a different set of values all together. How many children hear and see their dad pray regularly? Or even at all? How many children see Dad make sacrifices for the good of the family or others? On the other hand, how many children hear dad rationalize his own questionable behavior? How many children see Dad chase his own version of the American dream at the expense of his family, co-workers, and even his relationship with God?
I am so thankful for my Dad. I still love him deeply and miss him dearly. As I have thought so much about him these last few weeks, I have recommitted myself to my daughter, my wife, and most importantly to Jesus. I want my family one day to look back and see Jesus' fingerprints all over my life. I want to make a positive impact on my family, my church, my friends, my colleagues, and any with whom I can have any influence at all for Jesus' sake.
Men, let me challenge you to consider what message you are passing on to your kids. Not what you are saying, but what you are SHOWING.