June 19, 2011

So Dad, how did you do it?

It is a question I think about the older I get. How did you provide for a family of 5 on a minister’s salary? How have you been able to stay faithful to my mother and love her so well? How did you start a ministry from scratch? How did you survive all the trials and spiritual warfare I have seen you go through during my life?

I know the answer is God, but it is still remarkable to think about the older I get. Marriage is a blessing and a challenge, and I am still a newlywed with a lot to learn. I can’t imagine having 3 little boys and trying to provide for a family on a simple minister’s salary.

It is more than a relationship with Jesus. It is having faith in Him and trusting Him along the way.

My dad is a man of faith, an imperfect man, but a man after God’s heart. Throughout the years I would walk into his study and watch him read the Bible and pray. Children have a tendancy to mimic behavior and what I saw my hero doing, I wanted to do. If my dad followed Jesus I wanted to follow Him too.

Discipleship at its most simple level.

Through the years my dad has been a father figure to many men, discipling and training them but most importantly… being their friend. Where he did ministry he took me along. To his office at Interstate Batteries, to chapel services for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. Behind the scenes of NASCAR, hunting, fishing and camping. Wherever he did ministry, I went with him.

What validated me as a boy was that my father loved me, and he showed it by spending time with me. Interesting that God wants to show us how much He loves us by spending time with us, and He is our Father.

Fathers your children have your make up. Your DNA. But most importantly they are your disciples. Build into them, speak life into them, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” [Proverbs 22:6]

Whether you realize it or not, they are watching and learning.

You don’t have to be a ‘professional Christian’ to make a positive impact on your children, family and community. All it takes is a man committed to following Jesus Christ, submitted to the Holy Spirit, and willing to admit his mistakes. Out of all the things I have seen my father do, the most important is see him admit when he has made a mistake.

Don’t get me wrong my dad isn’t finished. He still has to finish the race. But now I get to pray for him, that he will finish well. And I get to learn from him as I live my life with the hopes of following in his footsteps.

Fathers rejoice in your children as your Father rejoices in you! Pray for them, provide for them, protect them. Love your wives as Christ loved the Church. [Ephesians 5:25] And keep in mind that your greatest disciples, are the ones in your own home.

Be a man worth following and at a point where you find that you are not, turn back to the Lord. There is grace for the journey and strength to be the husband and father God calls you to be.

God can do great things with a man that is teachable.

Then one day, your children will come to you and ask, “Dad, how did you do it?”

Happy Father’s Day!

— Article contributed by Matt Cote. Director of Marketing and Operations for the Master’s Men ministry.