I have been working on a little devotional for fathers and thought I might share some of it with you from time to time. I know I need it!
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ…” 1 Corinthians 11:1
What is the best inheritance you can give your children?
As a Christian, that is not a very difficult question to answer. The best inheritance you can ever give your children is a life worthy of imitation. I was reminded of that recently as I read the story of a former missionary to the Congo.
His name was Herbert Grings.
And after having serving as a missionary for many years, his children, actually wrote a testimony about their father’s life, and said that after going back to the Congo, “…God gave him ten more years of constantly witnessing and giving out Scriptures and leaflets, many of which he hand-printed himself… He was just a month short of his 85th birthday, with sixty years of uninterrupted service for his Lord, when he slipped into His presence November 7, 1977. Our heavenly Father’s tender care was never more real than in those final minutes of life here on earth. The one who stood by his bedside was Pambo, son of one of those earliest converts back in 1936. It was he who now sang hymns and read Scripture to Daddy as he dropped his robe of flesh and entered eternal light and bliss. What joy for the weary pilgrim to be home at last, moored on the shining shore and welcomed by loved ones. What a legacy he left behind!
Yes, that is what of lasting value he left us – not the few earthly possessions; a well-worn Bible, fiber hammock, a little cash. No, our riches lay in inner qualities –
(1) Knowledge of the Bible through regular reading from our youngest years
(2) Knowing and proving the power of prayer
(3) Memorization of Scripture
(4) Living for God and being in His service,
(5) The gift of those who prayed for him carrying over into our lives and ministries
(6) The example of his life.
Of material things he had little, but his treasure was laid up in heaven where it could be neither diminished or lost. And we have gained that vision for ourselves. As a tribute to our parents, we children had the God-blest privilege of serving for more than thirty consecutive years when there was one or more of us in the Congo.
As we think about our father we find ourselves saying with a combination of admiration and sincerity, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” If Daddy could have had a “last word” it might have well been this chorus: “All that I want is in Jesus, He satisfies, joy He supplies, Life would be worthless without Him, All things in Jesus I find.” The second and third generations are carrying on in the course laid out back there in 1917 when dad first moved to Africa. The great-grandchildren are being raised on the mission field as their parents were before them.”
And then the children write,
“Our prayer, as you read this “real-life” story, is that God will stir your heart to live for Him. You, too, can prove His faithfulness and see Him honor Himself through you. One thing that will surely stand out in this account is the importance of training up our children in the way they should go – living before them the example of “setting our affections on things above, not on things on the earth” that we might gain an incorruptible crown.”
As fathers, we have a special responsibility to our children, what is that responsibility? To manage our households, to mentor our children, and to model before them a godly life. You really can’t give them anything more precious than that.
Take Time to Reflect:
1. You are making sacrifices to give something to your children. But, are you giving them what’s most important? In other words, are you giving them a life worth imitating?
2. If your children lived their lives the way you are living yours, would God be pleased? What would you like your children to do differently than you are doing? Why not make a change yourself then?
1. Sit down with your children. Tell them you love them and that you want to help them live for Jesus. Explain that you need help living for Jesus yourself and that they can be of help to you. Then ask them to summarize how they would describe what is important to you if someone else asked them to. Pay attention. They are giving you insight into what you are currently living for.