With Father's day around the corner, I thought I'd take this week to honor my father by sharing some of the ways that he strengthened my faith.
As a young man, my father cultivated the skills of lying, cheating, and stealing. I know this because I heard him share his testimony over and over to anyone that would listen. By the time I came into his life, my father was a redeemed man who had spent years walking with the Lord. While he was not perfect, his passion for God's Word strengthened my faith.
When I was growing up, my father would spend the evenings laying on the living room floor on a big pillow and read his Bible. I always wanted to spend time with him, so I'd get my little Bible and go lay down by him. Tenderly, he encouraged me to find the book of John, and underline every time I saw the word "God."
Not long after that, my father's dad passed away. Surprisingly, his most prized inheritance was his dad's Bible. Encouraged by his dad's notes, my father was strengthened in his own faith. After hearing my father share about the treasure of receiving his dad's Bible, I promptly requested to inherit his Bible. From that point on, my father would rotate three Bibles in his study, one for each of his daughters. As he made notes in the margin, he would write the notes to each of us personally.
Next Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the first Father's day after my dad passed away. I can attest to the treasure of owning my father's Bible. Not only did he model a passionate love of dwelling in God's Word, he also spent his life urging others to mine the depths along with him. He left me a note in the front of my Bible encouraging me to never stop reading my Bible.
When my middle sister entered the sixth grade, my father started teaching her Sunday school class. At this point he began a ministry of shepherding young people into "Quiet Times" in which he hoped to foster a habit that would last a lifetime. He continued this ministry with my mom for sixteen more years.
Every year he would start with the same story about a busy man. He'd draw the layout of a simple family home on a white board and then proceed to demonstrate the fast paced lifestyle of a working father. Every room save one would have squiggles representing comings and goings. Then he'd draw the doorway to the forgotten room. Two knees would show through the arched opening, representing someone sitting and waiting alone in the room.
Finally noticing the stranger, the man would walk into the room to question him. Jesus had been patiently waiting for the man to come and spend time with him.
The simple illustration would spark a realization about the way we go about our lives and omit time with the Lord. My father always wanted to keep God's word accessible to anybody and everybody. He made his own "Quiet Time" sheet and asked people to spend fifteen minutes a day reading and responding. If they turned in twelve weeks worth of the sheets, he would pay them $25. The same man who grew up stealing fishing lures because he didn't want to pay for them, spent his adult life paying for something that he would never keep.
I would do well to learn from my father:
- Inspire my children with a love of reading God's word myself.
- Teach my children to study God's word.
- Sacrifice my assets to encourage others to study God's word.
Here are the simple sheets I grew up using for my Bible study. Click on the images below to download the PDF.