Most come to Father’s Day thinking of our own father or the dear man or men who loved and supported us as a child, rather than thinking of some honor due if we happen to also be a father.
I read an article recently entitled, “A Father’s Death Leaves Love Behind.” William Maddox write about his father-in-law, a man he never met because the dad died when his wife was only 3
His wife’s Dad had been a musician who sang in a quartet and had cut a few records. William Maddox said his wife’s father’s legacy lived on because his words and deeds and music had a profound influence on his wife’s upbringing. The father had died young but he did leave a legacy of love behind. Maddox said his wife loved to go to the church where her father often sang…and she also became interested in finding her father’s God.
My father, Benjamin Wilson Baird had a profound influence on me. He died when I was nine. I remember as a young child missing my Dad so much I would pray that I would see him in a dream.
I would hear other children say, “I want to be a nurse “ or “I want to be a policeman when I grow up” and I would think, “I want to be a Christian like Papa.” His Christian influence was a greater legacy for me than any amount of money or property he could have left me.
My mother’s dad also died when she was a baby. Mama told me one day, when other children would wear a new dress or shoes and say, “my papa bought them for me” she would feel sad and think, “If my papa was still alive, I would have new things…”
I am glad for movements like “PROMISE KEEPERS” and other movements among men to help them and to help us all to realize how much men are needed in the lives of children and how rewarding it is for men to grow old with offspring who love and respect them because of the care they gave to their children when they were young.
My father was a devout Christian who did not want to leave his wife and children. But as heart disease weakened his body, he was so certain of heaven that he looked forward to death as one would anticipate a long awaited vacation.
HE KNEW THAT WHAT WE CALL “DEATH” DOES NOT HAVE THE LAST WORD OVER WHAT GOD CALLS “LIFE” .
At a Memorial Service at our church Conference a few years ago, Bishop Bevel Jones preached and one of the things he said was about Aristotle Onasis, who amid his millions, never had a cause he supported. Jones said, “To leave no estate is not a disgrace but to leave no legacy is a tragedy.
The influence of a father cannot be over emphasized. Studies have shown that when a father is missing, absent from the home, there is a hole in the child, especially in a son, that cannot quite be filled
Fortunately, the Bible teaches there is a remedy. Many of the great leaders of past generations have filled this space, this hole left by an absent father with the Heavenly Father. The Psalmist David tells us even if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up. God is able to take all kinds of tragedy and bring about good when we commit our live to him.
THIS IS WHAT THE GOSPEL IS ALL ABOUT…BECAUSE WE ARE LIVING IN A FALLEN WORLD AND LIFE AT BEST IS SHORT. THIS IS BUT A PREPARATION PLACE. WHEN WE INVITE CHRIST INTO OUR LIFE, GOD CAN USE ALL THINGS TO WORK FOR OUR GOOD. BEAUTY FOR ASHES…JOY IN THE MIDST OF SORROW…LIFE ETERNAL IN THE MIDST OF DEATH.
DAVID BLANKINSHIP HAS WRITTEN A BOOK , ”FATHERLESS AMERICA”…. AND HE SAYS THAT WHEN A FATHER DIES, HIS FATHERHOOD LIVES ON IN THE HEAD AND HEART OF THE CHILD IF AND WHEN THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS SEEK TO KEEP HIS MEMORY ALIVE AND WHEN THEY FIND WAYS TO HELP COMPENSATE FOR THE FATHER’S ABSENSE. AND IN THIS SENSE THE CHILD IS STILL FATHERED.
Looking back I know I was profoundly influenced by my mother telling me about my father…how he prayed for me…how on his death bed he prayed for each child by name…that they would come to know Jesus.
Paul in Philippians 1, writes like a father to beloved children. He calls them his “joy and crown.” In verse 2-4, He writes:
“Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Always and in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.”
PAUL IS WRITING THIS FROM PRISON...BUT HE IS THINKING OF THE PEOPLE AT PHILLIPI…OF THE CHURCHES HE HAD SERVED….SO THIS LETTER THROBS WITH PERSONAL INTENISTY…GRATITUDE…AND JOY.
PAUL’S CENTRAL SUBJECT IS JESUS CHRIST. THIS IS THE BOND HE SHARES WITH THE PHILLIPIAN CHURCH. THIS IS THE BOND WE ALL SHARE in CHRIST…
…THIS IS OUR LEGACY OF LOVE AS CHRISTIANS,
Just a year or so before Charles had his first heart attach, we were pulling off the expressway to go to the parsonage in Austell where we lived at the time. We saw a man fall down beside the road. We had gotten past him so drove back. Charles asked me to stay in the car until he talked to the man. The man was on crutches with a broken leg in a cast and falling down drunk. Charles put him in the car, took him home with us, put him in the shower and helped him get a bath while I washed his clothes and fixed him something to eat. Later Charles called and got him into a Christian home for alcoholic’s nearby.
So it is…we came to Jesus just as we are, clothed in the garments of sin, spiritually starving and sick unto death. We are welcomed by Christ (and hopefully by Christians)…accepted just as we are, bathed in his love and forgiveness…transformed and clothed in his Grace…indeed given a place at His table of Grace.
I heard Dottie Rambo tell of praying for a brother who had become alcoholic. He was finally saved and Dottie wrote the song, “He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Need
“Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise
For it was Grace that bought my liberty.
I do not know just why He came to love me so…
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need…
I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary.
To view the cross where Jesus dies for me…
How marvelous…the Grace that caught my falling soul:
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.”
In Philippians 1, Paul reminds us that God has given us a new status “IN CHRIST” In fact, Paul gives them two addresses. They are “in Christ” and they are “In Philippi.” They are to let their life “in Christ Jesus “ be evident “in Philippi.” Paul reminds us all that we are called to be “in Christ” wherever we are.
Paul had been in the limelight. Now he is in the backwaters. But he rejoices. Because…whatever else is missing… “the Lord is at hand.” Paul might be “in bonds”, changed to a Roman guard. But he is “ in Christ Jesus.” He might have a thrown in the flesh…but he is “in Christ Jesus.”
How does Paul say it... ”TO ALL THE SAINTS IN CHRIST JESUS….GRACE TO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD, OUR FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST…I THANK MY GOD UPON EVERY REMEMBRANCE OF YOU.