I was thinking today about my father’s transition from this world to the next. He took one final breath and entered an unexplored existence just waiting to be experienced, but exactly forty years before taking that final breath my Dad was laying in another hospital room and he was fighting for his life. For all intents and purposes the doctors had given up on him. In fact, my mother had been advised that apart from a miracle Dad was going to die.
Years later my father shared with me how he had pleaded with the Lord to spare his life – not because he was not ready to die, but that he was convinced that he had not yet accomplished the purpose for which he had been created. For years he’d known that God was calling him to be a pastor, and yet he’d never responded to that call. On his death bed he pleaded for just one more chance at life, one more chance to make his life count for time and for eternity. The Lord saw my father’s tears and He heard his prayers and He healed him.
Not long after Dad regained his strength he began making changes. He resigned a comfortable position as a design draftsman engineer. He sold his home in a Canadian suburb and he moved his family to an inner-city neighborhood in the United States and then began studying to become a pastor. For the next four decades he served the Lord with purpose and passion. He pastored the hurting, prayed for the sick, he preached from the Scriptures, and every day he’d rise early in the morning and he would pray for a son who had little interest in the things of God. Before he died, however, my father realized an answer to those prayers. I surrendered my life to Christ and to His calling and I’ll never forget the day that Dad told me how proud he was of what God had done in my life. With a twinkle in his eye he said “I had a part in that.” Of course, he did. Not only am I the product of his prayers, but throughout the forty years that God added to my father’s life he modeled what it meant to be a fearless defender of the faith.
Not everyone has been called to be a pastor. Everyone, however, has been called to serve the Master. Whatever our calling, we are to invest our time, our talents, our treasures in the things that will last for all eternity. I want to exhort fathers everywhere: it’s your prayers, your care, that are so paramount in the lives of your children. Don’t be an absentee Dad. Invest your life in your children and you will, indeed, have an enduring legacy.