By Jerry Harris
I was at the same Promise Keepers event in Indianapolis that Mike Mack describes in his article, “Stand: When You Did Not Receive Your Father’s Blessing,” in this issue. I remember evaluating the blessing I had received, while men to my immediate left and right, as well as all around the stadium, stood and admitted that they had never received a blessing.
As I scanned tens of thousands of men standing at that Christ-centered men’s event, the grave implications began to sink in. I wondered how many husbands and fathers were left to wing it in their most critical relationships. I wondered how many would be conflicted in referring to God as their heavenly Father. I wondered about the difficulty many of the men must have had in finding their way back to God.
Then I thought of my father. Even though I was the first in my family to be called into full-time ministry, I remembered my father’s leadership in bringing our family to church. I remembered my parents’ dedication and leadership in walking in the way of the Lord. I remembered little things like Bible stories they read to me and prayers they said before bedtime; being given an offering to put into the little white plastic church bank during Sunday school; the countless flannelgraph lessons, sword drills, Jet Cadets, Bible Bowl sessions, church camps, and memory verses.
The blessing I received from my parents began to unroll like a scroll before me. My father wasn’t a paid minister but he had been a church planter, church builder, church leader, and Sunday school teacher. He passed out Bibles with the Gideons and preached for a prison ministry. He held up the arms of paid ministers while shouldering the financial burdens of his family in the secular world. My mother led a weekly women’s Bible study in our home my entire life. Their Bibles and notes could be found in the area they set aside for daily devotions.
Looking at the men who were standing filled me with the conflicting emotions of incredible joy for the wonderful blessing I had received and mostly taken for granted, and overwhelming sorrow for the sons who, like Esau, had been cheated out of their blessing. I reflected on the words of Jesus:
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:48).
That was Jesus’ teaching . . . and also his example. During this Christmas season, we tend to view Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the family picture, but what might escape us is the relationship of the Son with the Father and how the Father entrusted his Son with the salvation of the world . . . of my father, my family, and me.