I don’t suppose we will celebrate birthdays in heaven. Admittedly the Bible doesn’t address birthdays, so we can’t be sure about that, maybe we will, but certain birthdays impact me more than others.
Today, just three days from Father’s Day, is the 95th anniversary of the birth of my father, Alton Ralph Macy, born on June 13, 1918. Dad has been with the Lord since February 17, 2002, but eleven years of absence doesn’t make me forget the impact of this man on my life. He wasn’t perfect by any measure. As a teen, I was an expert on all his faults; as I got older, his reputation soared; partly my own maturing, partly my realization of the blessing my father was to me compared to many others, and especially compared to me as I faced the challenges of parenting.
A few days ago, I wrote an email to one of the elders of our church, asking for his insight on a number of issues that I hope to address in upcoming sermons on the the family, marriage and sexuality. I wrote to this brother, whom I’ve known for just nine years, “From the first time I met you, I have a picture of you and [your son] in a Deuteronomy 6:4-9 kind of relationship, discipleship in daily life.”
Do you know the passage? It is truly foundational, beginning with what Jesus called the Greatest Commandment. Here it is:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV
My dad was a Deuteronomy 6 father. Sure, I saw him react sinfully at times, but I know of no one who was more serious about faithfully following the Lord and I know of no one who desired that more for his children and grandchildren. Growing up on the farm, there was an advantage. Dad didn’t go away to work. The work was there all the time. He took us to work with him every day and he put us to work at a very early age.And in all that Dad related God’s Word to life, Deuteronomy 6 style!
Thank you Dad! Happy Birthday, Dad! And, with Jesus, I know it is happy beyond my understanding..