Dear Wesley, Even as I’m dictating this into my iPhone, you turn and give me a big
smile and look at me with your giant eyes. I can’t believe it’s my first Fathers Day. I can’t believe I get to be your dad. This craziness is still sinking in.
Little man, it’s a going to be my privilege to teach you so much, especially what
it means to follow Jesus. There are four things my dad did for me that I hope to do for you. On my first Father’s Day, I thought this would be a good time to share these with you. Don’t worry – this isn’t the first time I’m going to tell you this!
First, I want to make sure there is no difference between who I am on stage and who I am with you. When I was growing up, my dad made sure I saw him be the same man onstage preaching that he was when we played catch in the backyard or watched The Dirty Dozen in the living room.
One of my friend’s did his major research project in college, studying the signs and
causes of spiritual apathy in teenagers. Using focus groups from his church youth group and a local Christian high school, what he found was disturbing. The number one cause
of spiritual apathy was the disconnection between the faith these students’ parents pronounced and the lack of observable faith in their home. These students were apathetic because their parents proclaimed one thing at church but lived another way at home – when their children were watching.
I want to make sure that you see one picture just like my dad with me. It won’t be a perfect picture, but it will be one picture.
Second, I want you to see me struggle. My dad did not spare me from the struggle of his faith and his life as a pastor. I looked forward to riding home with him from church on Sunday afternoons hearing about his day. I especially loved the Sundays during the
weeks when my mom was out of town. As I got older, I would become a sounding board for him, hearing the hard things of his role. I learned so much time from him during those times, even things I wouldn’t learn in college and seminary. The best way for you to see my relationship with God is real and authentic is for me to let you into the struggle from time to time and watch me wrestle through the highs and lows with God’s grace sustaining me.
Third, I want to be present with you. I have a very vivid memory of playing baseball
in high school. Because he didn’t have an iPhone (I’m kidding), my dad got his calendar mixed up and double booked an appointment with a couple who was considering joining our church. He valued being at my baseball game so much that not knowing whether the couple would feel angry with him, he canceled their appointment just a few hours before they were supposed to meet. He was there for my game that day. The next Sunday morning, the couple came back to our church, attended the service and came down
after the service to let him know they were joining our church. The reason they told for joining our church was that he put his family first and that’s the kind of pastor they wanted.
I will struggle and I will not be perfect in putting our family first. There will be times when I will probably tempted to put people at church first. But you and your mom are more important than anybody at church. I hope I can show you that.
Fourth, I want you to know that I love you. I’m so proud of you I love you unconditionally. Even when you decide to projectile spit-up on me twice on the night before my first Father’s Day. You won’t remember last night, but I will! Just like our Heavenly Father, there is nothing you could do to earn more of my love than you have right now. And that is not going to change even when you stop needing me in the ways you need me now!
After we got you all cleaned up last night, you looked up at me with those big eyes and you gave me a big gummy smile.
That’s about the best Father’s Day gift I could get!
I love you Wesley!
Love, Your Dad