Sunday, June 16, 2013

Classic: Father's Day

I love being a dad. I'm not always good at it - I can be selfish with my time & interest, too quick to chastise & bark at my boys... and then at other times indulgent & inconsistent in the way I discipline them.  But my inadequacies don't change the simple fact that it's a wonderful gift to be a parent - to have the responsibility and the privilege of raising two adults.

Whoa, you say. I thought your boys were 12 and 8 years old. Don't blow a gasket - they are still kids... but my job as a parent is not to make well-behaved kids but to help them both to become well-rounded adults who first & foremost love Jesus with all of their hearts. (The "raising adults" line is ripped off, by the way, from an excellent but sadly out of print book by Jim Hancock with that title.)

As we come to a day each year that we set aside to celebrate fathers, I'm reminded that I've had two (well, more than two - but two in particular) excellent examples of what it means to be a dad.

The first is, no surprise, my father, Bob Jackson. What I know about forgiveness, about admitting you were wrong, about working hard, about being gentle with your son even when you're not sure what the heck he's thinking, about showing up for things you don't want to see (like school plays) just because your kid is in them, about persevering even when other people are sure you can't/won't be successful... I know those things by watching my dad live them out.

As well, he taught me about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I know about the joy of generous giving - of going above & beyond a tithe - because I watched him do it. I know about using your mind & your heart together when thinking about God - because he was (and is) the kind of guy who would sit on the edge of the Grand Canyon and talk about science & faith. I know what it means to share my faith in the middle of my day-to-day life - because that's what he's done as long as I can remember.

The second is my Heavenly Father - who adopted me into His Kingdom through the death of His son, Jesus Christ. All those things I glimpsed in my own biological father (and so much more!) are perfected in the love & care of God.

The first verse of Stuart Townsend's hymn says it just right:

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
I'm that wretch... which means I'm also His treasure. I am blessed (even when I don't deserve it) with His love, patience, joy, compassion, forgiveness, wisdom... and the list goes ever on & on.

Thanks, Dad... for following God the Father & letting me see it.

Quote of the Week

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.
     Pope John XXIII

A version of this post originally appeared as part of the NewLife Community Church "Grapevine" for Father's Day 2012.