Please indulge me for just a few thoughts. Today would have been Dad’s 77th Birthday. There has not been one day since his passing that we have not thought about him. So many times we have wanted to pick up the phone to call him. Just to hear his voice, to get a bit of advice, to ask him what he thought about a church issue, to talk about sermons, to ask him about a family issue, and a million other things. Dad was always a man of few words, but when he spoke it was always meaningful, thoughtful, and helpful.
Rather than a lot of talk, Dad was a man of action who was always serving others. He cared about others more than he cared about himself. More than anything else he was concerned about the souls of men. He wanted everyone he knew to have the opportunity to learn about the saving message of the Gospel. He wanted people who had fallen away from the Lord and His church to come home.
He was more focussed on Jesus than anyone we have ever known. He preached about Jesus and he allowed Jesus to shine through him. He was always doing for others. He did for others without people knowing about it.
He was unassuming in his service to others. He didn’t serve to be seen or known of men. He served because he was trying to follow in the steps of Jesus. He served because he had the heart of a servant. He served because he genuinely cared about people. He served because it allowed him the opportunity to reach people with the Gospel.
Dad was an humble man. The older we become, the more it becomes clear just how much humility he had in his life. We also understand how much humility filled his heart when we see so many preachers who are all about themselves. They promote themselves. They always talk about themselves in their sermons, in their writings, and in their conversations with others.
Unfortunately, humility is rare in the lives of many Christians, and it seems especially true in preachers. It is difficult to understand because of all people who should understand the need for humility it would seem to be Christians. Even more it would seem to be preachers who study regularly the life of Jesus and who tell others about Jesus should develop more humility.
To my preaching brothers, we need to pray more that God will help us not to make our work and our life about us. We need to work harder to reach out to others, to help others, and to live for others. We need to promote ourselves less and promote the Lord more. In a world where people all around us are hurting, they need less of us and more of Jesus.
Dad would often quote the following words from an old hymn. “For others Lord for others, let this my motto be. Help me to live for others that I might live like Thee.” He believed those words and he lived them more than anyone I have ever known.
While Dad was an humble man, he was not weak. His faith was strong, his preaching was strong, and his commitment to the Lord was strong. He would not allow others to run roughshod over the Lord, the truth, or the church. He always defended the faith in a spirit of love.
He defended those who could not defend themselves. He looked out for and cared for people that had no one to care for them. He built friendships for the Lord based not on someones ability to do for him, but based on the individual’s need for Jesus.
Dad was more interested in promoting Jesus and His church than he was in promoting himself. As far as we know Dad never asked someone to schedule him to preach in a meeting or a conference. He would accept those invitations but he did not promote himself.
Unlike some preachers we have known, he would have never told a church how much they should pay him. He didn’t have a fee for speaking. He would have and he did at times preach for no renumeration. We heard about a preacher who one time gave the check back to the church and told them he was embarrassed by the amount. Something like that would have been unthinkable to Dad. He was not into playing church politics or games that so many want to play in the church. He was about preaching the Word of God and doing the work of God.
Dad would not care much for this post. He would say it was too much about him. But these are the thoughts that we wanted to share with others today, especially other preachers. Even in Dad's writing and teaching if he was saying something about himself he wouldn't use the word, "I." He would say "we" but not "I." Some would argue that we should use "I" because it personalizes or humanizes our thoughts. Dad would say we don't need to personalize or humanize, we need to present Jesus. This post is written not because it is about my Dad, but because it is about our Father in Heaven and our Savior. It is not my intention to be unkind to others in this post, but it is my intention to encourage all of us who claim to represent Christ to do better at presenting Christ rather than ourselves.
There are so many characteristics that Dad displayed every day that we long to develop in my own life. Not just because we want to be more like my Dad, but because we are convinced that he wanted to be like Jesus. We understand fully that he was not the only person in the world who was like this. There are many of you who are reading this post who could say similar things about your parents. If that is true, praise God for your loved ones. If we have been blessed with parents like this we should do our best to follow the path they carved out for us.
Dad always had a smile on his face and a song in his heart. He believed in hope, he had a positive attitude about life and he believed that God would take care of those who trusted in Him. He believed that there was good in every human being. He believed that God had placed eternity in the heart of every person and that because of that ever person deserved the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
My sincere prayer is that all of us who endeavor to preach the Gospel will be more like this. That we will all allow the Glory of God to be seen in us. That we will let our lights shine before men so that they might glorify God. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Dear Father in Heaven, we thank You for bringing people into our lives who show us the way to You. We thank You for people who allow Jesus to be seen in them. Help us all, dear God to be more like Jesus. Help us to share the message of Jesus and the love of Jesus with everyone we can. Help us Lord, to make our lives about You and not about us. In His Precious Name we pray, Amen.