Before I finish my little report of the survey results I obtained at Lifest last week, I thought I would tell you a short little story - a story from Lifest that literally brought tears to my eyes.
I was up early before everyone else on our campsite. You know, one of the annoying things about camping is you can think you're sleeping in because it's so light out in the morning. Then, when you look at your clock it's like 5:00AM. ARGHH! That's just not right. I tried to go back to sleep but failed. So I figured I might as well get up and read.
So I was sitting there in my comfy yet damp folding chair, inside our screened-in tent reading from the book of Matthew. The reading was good and, seeing as I was at a Christian music festival, the words just seemed more meaningful and the text I was reading that day soaked in deep.
My concentration was broken by the sound of a tent fly being unzipped down the road. I looked up and saw a middle-aged man getting out of a tent across the way and down a few spots. He stretched as he surveyed the sleeping campground. Rubbing the hair on his head, he walked off towards the toilet facilities. We waved to each other and whispered, "Good morning."
I returned my gaze to God's Word. I was reading from the tenth chapter of Matthew where Jesus was sending out the twelve disciples to spread The Gospel. Beginning with verse 16 . . .
"16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." - Matthew 10:16-20
I heard the sound of someone stirring in that nearby campsite - the middle-aged man I had seen earlier had returned and was preparing some coffee for himself. He had one of those single-cup brewing things. When he had gotten that thing going he sat down in HIS folding chair with HIS Bible and began to read.
Returning to my reading, I read this, beginning in verse 24 . . .
"24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master." - Matthew 10:24-25
The sound of another tent flap opening. Zzzzzzzip! I looked up and saw another figure emerging from the middle-aged man's tent. It was another man - this one much younger. Similar features and complexion. In his twenties I guessed. They smiled at one another. The younger one rubbed his eyes and sat down across from the older man who still had his Bible on his knee. It was a father and his son.
As I watched them interact that morning I couldn't help but be moved. This father, with God's Word open before him, was talking to his son. They may have been talking about anything at all. I couldn't hear what they were saying. But the image of a father talking with his son with the Bible open was one I will never forget.
I came to a saving faith in Jesus very late in my life - age 53. I began to think back on the times I spent with MY son . . . and I began to cry. I never sat with my son and spoke to him about Jesus. I never had the opportunity to read from God's Word and discuss the scriptures and their meaning with either of my children. As I looked across the way at this beautiful father-son model that God had provided for me I began to wonder how things might have been different if I had only decided to follow Jesus earlier in my life.
The time I never spent with my children, never living out the Godly example I was witnessing here in the early morning light, is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about having teens exposed to the Gospel at events like Lifest. If they could only hear about the perfect Father-Son relationship, perhaps then they could see the incredible perfection of "the family" that God designed and desires for us all.
These days, with the increasing presence of divorced parents or same-sex parents, the model that God seeks for ALL of us, is vanishing before our very eyes. His time-tested, God-approved family design, that of one father, one mother - each of them essential for a child's upbringing, is becoming endangered.
I have talked to many kids whose parents have gotten divorced. I have spoken with a girl who is currently living in a home with two moms. It didn't take long for me to figure out after many such conversations that children NEED some daddy time.
One question keeps gnawing at me. How can we expect our children of today to know what a relationship with God is like, our Heavenly Father, if those children have no father in their life to live out that example of a Godly dad. Our earthly relationships with our fathers effect our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I pray that all families might have loving fathers to lead them and . . .
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6
Please watch this video of a son who grew up without the Godly example of a father in HIS life.
Tyrone Flowers - I Am Second