Today is my Dad’s 70th birthday and I want to send him a very special birthday greeting. I looked for cards last week but I couldn’t find one that said exactly what I wanted it to so I decided to send him this virtual birthday greeting.
There are so many things I could tell you about my Dad , in 70 years you have a lot of things that might define who you are. I could tell you that he is a great man and while that would be true, I know that he would humbly disagree with me. I know that he would shake his head and say “I have made mistakes in my life.”
I could tell you about my Dad and how he has stood by me during the most defining moments in my life. I could tell you how he prayed with me to give my life to Jesus, how he baptized me and how he walked me down the aisle and then helped perform my wedding ceremony. Perhaps the most poignant time was when he stayed in the hospital with me when we delivered Josiah our first son who was stillborn.
I could also tell you how he disciplined me as a child, with both authority and tenderness. I remember in high school that I did something pretty serious. I lied about something and that lie grew into something pretty big. It was ugly. I remember when he found out. The defining moment that stands out most about that situation was my Dad standing in the door to my bedroom with a look of disappointment on his face. I know what the face of the Father looks like because of my Daddy. I also know the forgiveness of the Father because in the 20+ years since that incident my Dad has never brought it up again. He has lived out the word picture in Psalms of “as far as the east is from the west“.
I could tell you that he is a faithful husband. In the age where unfaithfulness in marriage seems the norm my Dad has been faithful for almost 47 years to my Mom. In an age of disposable marriage, I have been able to look to my parents as an example of how to make marriage work.
I could tell you how he has faithfully served the local church for over 45 years as a pastor. He has been on countless youth trips and mission trips. Dad has led more VBS programs than I am sure even he remembers. He has taken every church he has served as full time pastor through at least one building program. The number of weddings, funerals, baptisms, and baby dedications he has overseen are too numerous to even imagine. It would be impossible to count the number of hours he has spent at the hospital visiting with people, or the number of hours he has prayed and counseled people in various life situations. There is no way to measure those things here on earth.
That is the thing , my Dad will not be defined by what has happened in the past 70 years of his life on this earth. Dad will be defined by eternity and the impact he has had there.. I would hesitate to even guess how many people he has influenced for eternity.
You see while I might tell you that my Dad is a great man, he would point you to the greatest man, and say that Jesus makes all the difference. My Dad’s relationship isn’t defined by what he has done or hasn’t done, it is defined by his relationship with God the Father, through Jesus Christ.
Daddy, on this day that you celebrate your 70th birthday, my prayer for you is that as you live out the remaining years of your life you are blessed by happiness, peace, joy and most of all love. I love you, Daddy!