“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him with sincerity and faithfulness…but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”Joshua 24:14-15
As reflect on Christmases past, I see a pattern in my family. We like to give gifts of sentiment! If the recipient tears up, you nailed it! Usually it’s the last gift given. I remember my dad giving one of his grandsons-in-law one of my grandfather’s guns. The grandson never met my grandfather, but the gift was so unexpected, he was stunned. I’ve had my share of these “stun you” gifts, but there is one that reminds me every day who I need to be in Christ, as a husband, as a father, and as a pastor.
Many years ago, before our son, Jake, was born, I took a class at First Dallas, called “Raising a Modern-Day Knight.” I really took it out of curiosity, not knowing that God would give me a son for my forty-first birthday present! When Jake was a couple of years old, two of my nieces (I have 10) went shopping with us. We came upon a sword shop. I found a sword I really liked that was a replica of the sword of the Knights Templar. I didn’t have the cash with me that day, so I decided to wait until Jake was older, after all the sword was for him, not me!
So this one Christmas in particular, I was shocked when the last gift given was for me. I was a bit nervous. It was an odd-shaped box, so I was clueless about the contents, but I knew I did not want to become emotional. When I opened the box, I was stunned. There was the replica sword of the Knights Templar. I was speechless, and didn’t realize that my teenage nieces were paying attention. I confess the tears welled up when I read the enclosed note “Uncle Bubba (don’t laugh), please be the sword keeper for Jake until the time is right for him to have it.” I found out later that my sister tried to get my nieces to let her give me the sword. Remember, we love the gift of sentiment. Jake is a favorite in the family because he is the only male in a sea of 10 female cousins. And he is the only son of an only son of an only son!
Part of the “Raising a Modern-Day Knight” study encourages you to raise your son not only to love and fear God, but to be Christlike in all that he does. There are three things that a son needs to hear and see from his dad: to see you demonstrate love to his mama and to hear the words “I love you” and “I’m proud of you” every day. When he reaches the age of 18, you have a ceremony where he is challenged and encouraged on his journey by the men in his life that have made an impact.
Honestly speaking, Jake acts and thinks as a modern-day night. I am quite proud of my son. The sword hanging on the wall in my office is waiting to be given to Jake when the time is right. For now, it daily serves to remind me who God has called me to be—a servant leader and a modern-day knight for His Kingdom!
John ministers to those who are hurting, either through illness or loss. He is passionate about helping men, women, and couples work through life’s issues, and ultimately leading the lost to Christ. John and his wife, Debe, have one son.