“Honor your father…. which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it will be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1 according to this scripture, there is a reward for doing the right thing. Jeremiah 35: 18-19 reaffirms that those who honor their parents are blessed. Pray for their strength.
My father was a good hard-working man (two shifts most of the time) with a tender heart. He would often quote the above-mentioned scripture to us. When we all gathered around him by the fire feeling warmth, comfort, and security, he sang to us and told stories. Home was our haven and center of life. Whatever happened during the day, it just got better when Dad came home. One of our joys was the peanut patties purchased somewhere near the mill. We could expect him to bring home special things any time of the year. Many relatives, as they made their exodus from the south lived in our father’s home. Dad was not selfish so once inside our house, they always found kindness and he did not speak harshly or suggest that the welcome mat was for a short season.
When I need the whispers of God, it is then that I remember and understand why Father would sit motionless and quietly, reading the Bible, listening to the whispers of God. He speaks before I pray, listens when I pray and understands groans and moans that I cannot put into words. The sounds of the rude world, heard all around, are lulled by the whispers. They die out of my soul and sink so low that I can only hear the whisperings of God. When the “whips and scorns of life” are more than anyone can handle, the spirit of God gives me a seat as my father.
Father could also be “a great ball of fire” when he needed to spring into the defensive and protective mode. When he spoke, everyone listened. It was the voice of authority. Father had insurmountable strength and unstoppable wisdom saying “If you listen to God, he will listen to you.” He had a perpetual summer in his heart that kept him singing fun songs like, “The Acheson, Topeka, and Sante Fe”, “SAN ANTONIO”, and “Don’t Fence Me In.”
Father filled my heart with wealth, warmth, and confidence to last from summer to winter of life. He was very articulate and loved teaching us to respect the Lord. “I’ll Serve You Lord, Until My Dying Day” and “I Know Jesus Will Be Waiting at the End for Me” are songs that he treasured. We have these treasures in earthen vessels so the excellency is of God and not of us. My treasure chest is filled with gems of the purest and brightest quality but not in cash. I wish I could re-captivate the sound of Father and the rest of the adults singing the scales in harmony. My Uncle Luther was a music teacher and they all sang with beautiful voices. They sang southern gospel on the lawn in the dark. What a time! It’s no wonder that we sing “If I Could Hear My Father Pray Again!”
My father was relentless when it came to his job. Often suffering hidden pain, he went to work with an attitude of respect for his family. Let me quote some jewels of his lips: “A man is supposed to work. If a man is not a worker, he is nothing. You have to do more than you get paid for to live a successful life. Work is the difference between honor and disrespect. Don’t wear your feelings on your cuff, do what the job requires!” Reflecting on the different eras of time and experiences with him is pleasant. He would stop by my house when I had three small children, and there he remained the favorite storyteller for his grandchildren. The mystery of fathers could become a best-selling novel.
Honor your father and receive the promise of Ephesians 6:1 (Length of good days) and Father’s Day is a reminder and opportunity to return the favor of loving care. Get into the battle with Him, lead him through dark places. Remember to say the three classic words “I love you, FATHER.” His fate may one day be in your hands after he has raised you up but he will always be your father.