A son thanks his earthly father for showing him the heavenly Father.
On the bookshelf above my desk sits a copy of the book Creation from the People’s Bible Teachings series published by Northwestern Publishing House. Inside the front cover, scrawled in the barely legible handwriting that I inherited from him, is this handwritten note from my father, who wrote the book.
This copy is for you. May it help in providing the inspiration we all need to continue to give all glory and praise to our God for all his many gifts!
Short, straightforward, and always right to the point of why we are here: to give glory, praise, and thanks to God. That was my father.
I can’t imagine that this always came easily for him. He lost his mother when he was 17. His ministry in Milwaukee was often challenging, with a church and school on the brink of survival seemingly every year. He lived his whole life with one health condition after another. The last one, dementia, was the cruelest of them all. I still remember choking back tears when the man who had worn a shirt and tie every day of his pastoral ministry revealed to my brother and me, “I can’t tie a tie anymore,” unmasking the helpless feeling of losing his memory and being conscious of it.
But don’t feel sorry for my dad! He meant it when he urged me to praise God for all his gifts. My father was blessed. God blessed him with parents who had him baptized and brought him to church and backed up what he learned in their home. God blessed him with a wonderful, God-fearing wife—his rock, his encourager, his lifelong support. God always blessed him with that person he needed to lift his spirits during difficult times in ministry. And children—God blessed him with four. While he counted us as a blessing to him, how much more was he a blessing to us!
I never took time to write my dad a thank-you note for his fathering while he was still here. But if I had, it would have sounded something like this:
Thank you, Dad, for showing me that there is great strength in humility. Thanks for showing me that power and position aren’t what make you valuable; they are just tools God gives you so that you can serve. Thanks, Dad, for helping me see that ministry isn’t about the total size of the flock that you serve; it’s about each individual lamb under your care. Thanks, Dad, for helping me see what qualities to look for in a spouse. Thanks for showing me what it means to love your wife and put her ahead of yourself. Thanks, Dad, for putting us kids first, giving up what you could have had so that your children had more than we needed. But Dad, thanks most of all for not pretending you were a perfect father and instead introducing me to the only perfect Father. Thanks for showing me what it means to repent. Thanks for showing me the Father who never tires of forgiving. It’s the greatest gift anyone could ever give!
My dad can’t read these words now, but that’s okay. I’ll get to share them with him when I see him again at the side of my heavenly Father. Until then, I only pray that I can be an inspiration for my own children to continue to give all praise and glory to God for his many gifts.
Author: Michael J. Weigand
Volume 108, Number 6
Issue: June 2021