I wanted to take a few blogs and share some of the stories I’ve either read or been part of that have impacted me over the last few years. As a pastor you get a unique perspective into life and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve seen, heard and experienced. As always, my objective is to both encourage and cause you to think.
The first story that impacted me caused me to think about the end of my life and what I wanted to leave behind for my precious family. The account was written by a son whose dad had just died. One of the responsibilities that fell to this son was sorting through his dad’s things, both at home and at work. This man’s father was a doctor that had treated thousands of people in his lifetime. This father was no ordinary dad. This son loved and respected his father so very much. He had watched his dad care for patients, his family and his wife for his whole life. He loved his dad’s selfless and sacrificial love. He often thought how blessed he was to have a father like this. He was the reason the son had followed in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. His dad wasn’t perfect but he was a great dad, husband and doctor.
He saw many times how his dad put others ahead of himself. How his dad was called out to care for the sick and broken in all hours of the day and night. How his dad served his mum and family so selflessly.
As this son started to sort through his dad’s office at home and get together all the paperwork needed to care for his mum the son thought to himself how much he admired his dad. He recalls many times stopping the process and just pausing to read a letter from a grateful patient. He found cards they wrote as kids that his dad kept all these years in a bottom drawer. Although the process was hard the son finally finished his dad’s home office and moved to his work office.
This work office had been used for decades. The son thought about the times he had come to visit his dad and sat in his office chair as a little boy and how now he was taking over his dad’s practice. He once again paused to thank God for his father and how much he had taught him about God. Faith had always been part of this son’s life. His father had invested many hours encouraging his son’s own faith. But by far the biggest faith legacy the father had left was the model he lived. The son worked his way through his dad’s office much quicker than the home office. Most of the papers were medical forms that could either be filled or shredded. He finished most of the sorting in a few hours. He looked at the clock and saw that it was time for him to leave. He then remembered his dad’s locked cabinet. But he thought to himself that he would have to wait for another day.
During the evening, the son recalled thinking a lot about that cabinet. He started to fear that he would find something in there that would shatter his perception of his dad. Was it possible for a man to be as faithful and selfless as his dad? Would he find some letters from an old lover, some unpaid bills, some addiction revealed? The son tossed and turned all night wondering about the contents of that medical cabinet. So early in the next morning he got up and drove to his dad’s office.
He found the cabinet key in his dad’s top office drawer and slowly walked over to the cabinet. He prayed as he opened the door, “please God don’t let there be anything in here”. As the son opened the last place he needed to sort, he peered inside. There on the shelf were piles of medical journals and pictures the kids had made for him over the years. That was it and nothing more.
As I read this story I thought about my own life and what I am leaving behind for my precious children and grandchildren (God-willing). What would my kids find in my effects? Would there be a consistency in what they thought they knew and what he found?
Then I thought to myself that the decision starts now. Christ died to not only save me but to call me to a life and becoming like him a small step at a time. I thought to myself, “what I need to ditch in my mind and in my life that might hinder or discourage my family”? What can I do today to live a life that encourages and challenges my own family? What can I do to make them want to follow in my steps and serve the King of Kings who is more than worthy of living our lives for.
When it comes for our stuff to be sorted after we are long gone what will our family find?