One of the Greatest Gifts I Received from My Dad
So they come to you as people do, and they sit before you as my people. They listen to your words, but they refuse to do them. Though they speak of their longing for me, they act out of their own interests and opinions. (CEB)
Today is my dad's birthday. He'd be eighty years old today. Unfortunately, I'm not able to celebrate with him because he's been with the Lord for twenty-six years. Maybe there are birthday parties in heaven.
Our passage from Ezekiel reminds me of one of the greatest gifts I received from my dad. He was not like the people described in verse 31: "So they come to you as people do, and they sit before you as my people. They listen to your words, but they refuse to do them." My dad did indeed listen to plenty of sermons and Sunday school lessons. He was trained as a Bible teacher and spent a good chunk of his time teaching both children and adults God's Word.
But he was not just a listener and a teacher. My dad was someone who did what he heard and taught. Oh, to be sure, my dad wasn't perfect. Yet, having watched him closely for years, I knew he sought to do what Scripture taught. My dad was no hypocrite. He was a man of integrity, honesty, and generosity. He was devoted to his family and his church. A computer analyst in his day job, my dad loved children and helped them know the Lord. In fact, the last ministry he did before cancer took his life was to serve as a counselor for children at the Billy Graham Crusade in Anaheim, California.
I have had many friends who struggled with faith because they saw their parents put on a show of Christianity but fail to live it at home. My dad gave me the gift of his authentic faith, his genuine effort to live what he professed. How I hope to give that same gift to my own children, as well as to all who know me well. May I be someone who listens to God's Word and seeks to live it each day, in every part of my life.
FOR REFLECTION: Who are the people in your life who have demonstrated through their actions what it means to be a true Christian? Who are the people who look to you as an example of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus?
PRAYER: Today, dear Lord, I thank you for my dad. I rather hope you throw him a party on his eightieth birthday!
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for my earthly father. I am especially grateful for the integrity of his life and faith. He was not like the Israelites who heard your Word yet refused to do it. Rather, he sought to live out what he heard in sermons and taught in his own lessons. His demonstration of faith helped me to believe, and it still challenges me to live authentically.
Help me, Lord, to live out what I profess. By your grace, may my actions demonstrate the reality of your presence in my life. Let this be true wherever I am, at work and home, with my colleagues and with my friends, when I'm in church and when I'm in my community.
To you be all the glory. Amen.