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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Collect calls on Father's Day

Father's day is kind of a mixed up holiday. It's a day set aside to honor
our fathers, but I'm told that there are more collect phone calls made to
fathers on this day than throughout the rest of the year. No one wants to
miss talking to dad, even if they have to reverse the charges to do so.
That's OK, I never met a dad yet that regretted accepting a collect call
from one of his children.

One of the problems with days like this is we want to shower love and honor
on this special person, but often we really don't know them very well.
Granted we often live most of 18 or so years in the same house with them,
but don't know much more about them than a casual relationship allows. When
we are young, our thoughts most of the time are centered on ourselves, our
friends, our needs, our activities. I'm not saying that that is wrong, it's
just how we are made up. Often when we become mature enough to focus on
someone else, we focus on finding a mate and making a life in our own home.
Again, nothing wrong with that, the scripture says we are designed to leave
mother and father and cling to our mate.

It's not unusual however at some point for us to mature enough to start
thinking about our own mortality, to wonder about where we came from and how
we got to where we are. Some folks do serious searches on the Internet for
their genealogy. Other's visit grave yards and search for grave markers with
information about their ancestors. Some are able to go right to the best
source, grandparents or parents for information about their family. Some
never get around to doing that until it's too late.

About 15 years ago I decided I wanted to know more, not about our family
background, but what it was like for my dad growing up. My dad was still
alive at that time, but he really didn't want to talk about his early life.
I, as most of you have done, picked up little snippets of information
through the years. There were a few comments about grandparents or events,
but not much. I know he had a tough childhood. He only managed to go through
the eighth grade and had to stop and go to work. He was a "self made man"
(with the great support and encouragement of my mom). He had his own
construction business for many years as well as several other jobs. I know
he loved his family and loved God. He was active as a leader in his church
and lived as a Christian example to those around him. To say the least, he
was a great father. Perfect, no, but I couldn't have wanted anyone better to
be an example of a good work ethic, morality, Christian life and a loving
father.

Some of Jesus' most famous words are in the form of teaching his disciples
how to pray. The prayer begins, "Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your
name." (Matthew 6:9 NKJV) A modern translation puts it this way, "Our Father
in heaven, may your name be kept holy." (NLT)

We don't know nearly as much as we would like to about Our Father in heaven,
but we can learn some about him through His written word. Jesus said in John
14:9, "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a
long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."

We need to remember that it doesn't take a collect phone call to reach him,
we can learn about his faithfulness, his longing for us to be moral and
ethical and love righteousness. We can learn how much he loved us and about
his plans to have us live with him for all eternity. Over 40 times in the
scripture it talks about calling upon our father God, when is the last time
you did? Hopefully it has been more than one time a year or one time a month
or one time a week. He wants to hear from you just as badly as your earthly
father. So, stop what you are doing and call him right now!

Russ Lawson

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