Sunday, June 15, 2014

Why Our Dad Rules

Today marks two important events: it is both Father's Day and the day of my dad's last sermon as senior pastor of Port St. Lucie Bible Church.


Throughout his ministry, there's one phrase that he's repeated many times: "What you believe determines how you behave."

In other words, what you do, why you do it, and how you do it can be traced directly to your theology. 

Our dad figured this out a long time ago, and it's the foundation for why he rules. 

Why Our Dad Rules:

1. He practices what he preaches.


For as long as I can remember, my dad has been a pastor. Also for as long as I've been able to remember, he has lived a life consistent with the message of the Gospel. The man you see behind the pulpit when you come to church, the man who shakes your hand at the door, the man who prays with you in the hospital, and the man who stretched out on our living room sofa every night for his post-dinner-pre-bed nap have always been one in the same. There has never been any double talk or false piousness. 

Perhaps this is why unlike many pastors' families, we never really had any problems with overtly rebellious children, and there were no black sheep. Dad would say this is due to the grace of God. That is true, of course, but it's also true that we were not only told how to live but we were also given daily example of what that should look like. That made a huge difference.

2. He took the time to teach us things.


While our friends were busy having what we considered the "normal" teen experience, the kids in our family were busy doing other things -- things dad made us do, like learning small engine repair or landscaping or how to write a budget. 

As soon as we were old enough to work, he made us get jobs. He took turns driving us to work until we'd each saved up enough cash to buy our own rattletraps, which he helped us to keep on the road through a heady combination of willpower and Saturday mornings spent tinkering under the hoods while we stood by holding the flashlight. All the while, he would be explaining what pistons were or where the drive shaft was or how internal combustion worked (caveat: I'm still fuzzy on all this). 

The point is that he did what a lot of dads never do: he spent quality time with us. And while it's true that I would rather die than change my own spark plugs, top off the fluids in my car, replace a tire, or change the oil, these are a few of the many skills that I acquired because dad took the time to show me how. 

3. He demonstrated the importance of hard work.


When he wasn't studying, counseling, or engaging in other church work, he was in the garage. When he wasn't in the garage, he was in the yard (ours or the church's). When he wasn't in the study or the garage or the yard, he was down the street mowing the a neighbor's lawn, just because. 

4. He loves people, and he loves truth.


Which, if you are going to have a combination pastor/dad, is about the best combination you could ask for.

5. He's currently kicking cancer's can.


One of the most remarkable aspects of the whole experience since his diagnosis has been watching other people watch himwondering if he's really as calm about it all as he seems.  

He is.

And why shouldn't he be?

That's just his theology in action.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. We love you!


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