This upcoming Sunday is the dedication of Azle Christian Church’s Heritage Building. This building was the first building that was erected by the congregation. It truly is a monumental moment in the congregation’s history. As a part of the service we are focusing on three different foci (thanks to Alan for the mathematical word), Past; Present; and Future. I was asked, and agreed, to give a sermonette on the future.
(The Heritage Building – photo from my phone!)
As I started writing it this morning the overarching theme about the future I thought of was “what do you hope to be in the future?” Also on my mind was my father’s birthday party that was this passed weekend. Sadly, I was not able to attend, but I did have a good phone call with him during it and even got the “line of the night.” SPOILER ALERT (IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MY SERMONETTE SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH): So I decided to use a little bit about my father’s party and what it meant as a way to introduce the idea about honoring the past, but still looking to the future.
So I think the rest of the blog today will about how I hope to be when I “grow up.” This isn’t about what ministry I want to be doing, where I want to be with, who I want to be with, or even how many world series the Cubs will win. The rest of the post will be about the man I want to grow up to be similar to, my father.
When I was younger, maybe around the age of 14 or 15, I would get into the worst arguments with my father. Usually they were little things blown out of proportion by me, such as cleaning something or picking up after myself. It would usually be something like me not folding up a blanket up in our basement. I would argue with Dad that I was just going to use the blanket later so there was no sense in me folding it up. He obviously just wanted me to pick up after myself. My mother said the reason we, my father and I, fought was b/c we were basically same the person. I would then say, usually scream, that I wasn’t like my dad.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve recognized that my Father and I are a lot alike in some ways. We both are more quiet then loud, though put us around the right people and we open up like Pandora’s box, you can’t shut us up. We both enjoy reading immensely. We both tend to plan things out in our mind and maybe get a little perturbed when things don’t go exactly to that plan. We share a lot in common, though I would never say that we are basically the same person. This is more out of respect of my father than me rebelling from him. I actually want to do quite the opposite of run away from him.
He is the man I try to be. He is the man I aim to be like as I grow older.
He loves what he does, truly loves it. He put a lot of hard work into making his dream of being a Principal at a low-income school come true, and he still has to do tons of work to make sure that he is the best that he can be at his profession; this is a model that anyone should aspire to, to not rest and think that there is something you can’t, shouldn’t, or don’t need to learn.
He tries his hardest in his marriage. He loves my mother with a passion that I can tell form a far, but is certainly palpable when you are near it. It is infectious; it makes one envious if they do not have it. This is not to say that they have the perfect marriage. If one were to ask them I don’t think that they have the perfect marriage, but they do have each other. They try hard together. They enjoy being with one another. He does not reign over her as if he is better than my mother just because he is a man, I bet she would hit him if he even tried! They intentionally do things like bike riding, or kayaking, or camping, or reading, or going to see their son play college football at a tiny school that hasn’t won in over two years. They do these things together. My father shows me how one is supposed to act as a husband, even I am not close to becoming one.
He also shows respect to everyone he meets. My father is the embodiment of treating your neighbor as yourself. He never says a harsh word about anyone, at least not that I have heard. He treats everyone the way they are supposed to be treated; that they have inherent value that can never be taken away. I think that if everyone in the world followed this example set by my father, as I assume he learned from his parents (ministers), then the world would be a much better place.
All of this is to say that one day I hope that I can be as good as a person, not just a man, as my father.
(My favorite picture of us)
Happy early Birthday Dad. I love you.