As I look around our society today, it is painfully clear that our world has forgotten what it means to really be a man. They chase after money, power, and anything self-indulging. I stand here today, blessed. Because I did not simply have a biological father, I had a daddy. My dad taught me what it means to be a man. It is impossible to sum up in a few minutes all that any man has accomplished or the impact that he had. That is especially true with my dad. I will not be attempting to do so today. I simply wanted to honor dad by sharing with you the most important things that he taught me.
1. Dad taught me that God comes first, no matter what.
Some of you may not know that my parents were not Christians when they were first married. Soon after children entered their life, my mom made the decision to follow Christ. My dad was a little more hesitant to make that choice.
When he decided to follow Christ, he never looked back. He read us stories from the bible as we were kids, he sat down with us and studied God’s word when we were considering being baptized, he helped me write the first lessons that I gave, he built me a pulpit that was the perfect size for a young boy, and he made sure that we never missed a service of the church as long as we were able to attend. I am eternally grateful for his sincere faith.
2. He taught me how to pray.
He came into my bedroom and prayed with me before bed, he made sure we talked to God before our meals. When dad prayed, he didn’t just say words, he spoke from his heart to His God.
Around 5 years ago I was out in dad’s workshop with him and he said the elders here at Blanchard had visited with him about him becoming an elder. One of the reasons they believed so strongly that he was qualified was because of his two kids. (Although, some might say that they did a questionable job 🙂
He told me that he didn’t deserve any credit for the way that Keshia and I turned out. When I asked him why he believed that he said. “I didn’t do anything to make you who you are, I just prayed for you every single day.” I told him that that is what made him such a great dad. He didn’t fool himself into thinking that parenting was about him, he knew it was about God.
3. He taught me a hatred for sin.
As I stand before you today, I hate sin more than ever. The Bible tells us in Genesis 3 that when sin entered the world, so did pain and death.
Dad watched as various sins ripped apart the lives of those that he loved and he developed a strong hatred for it. Because my dad was not usually very “public” many people didn’t realize the depth of his faith on a day to day level. One of the highlights of my childhood (at least it’s the way I see it now 🙂 was getting to work with my dad.
One day while we were working on some apartments, I heard my dad say a word that he should not have said. I was shocked, I had never heard him use a word like that. I turned back to look at him, and he had knelt down and grabbed some sawdust and put it in his mouth. I thought, “He really has lost his mind” I asked him what he was doing, and he said, “I just don’t want to forget how bad sin tastes, I’m sorry son.” I believe it was this humble transparency, of a man who never pretended to have “arrived” that showed me the genuineness of his faith, and ultimately drew me closer to God.
4. He taught me how to preach.
Anyone that heard my dad speak in public would never confuse him with an “eloquent public speaker” he would often joke about trying to break his record of saying “um” 100 times in a lesson.
Even still, I learned more from him than I have from many other instructors. He spoke from his heart. He encouraged me as I spoke, to not get in the habit of reciting things, but to speak from the heart. I carry that with me each time I step behind a pulpit.
5. He taught me how to be a husband/ and a father.
On mine and Meagan’s wedding day I was in a room in this building waiting on “the signal” that it was time to go. He came in the room and asked all the groomsmen to leave, I wasn’t sure what was on his mind. He asked me, “are you sure you want to marry Meagan?” I laughed and I nodded yes.
He said, “Son, you need to understand that you are not signing up to simply live with her. You are committing to take care of her, and place her above you every day.” He then told me that when I marry Meagan, she is “his daughter now” and if I didn’t care for her, I would have to answer to him as well as my father- in – law.
It was so evident watching the way he loved and cared for my mom, that my dad practiced what he preached.
My dad not only cared for my mom, he was the best father to me and keshia that anyone could ever hope for.
My dad wrote me a letter. I want to read part of that to you today: “Troy, my boy where have you gone? Would you please not be gone very long? Call me, write me, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me that my boy isn’t gone. I’ve watched you grow from babe to lad, we have always run short on the time that we’ve had, I turn now to the boy I once knew, and shake the man’s hand that now belongs to you. The boy I knew is now up and gone, and that child, for him, I still long but he is grown now and here I stand, face to face with my son, the man.”
The interesting part about this letter is he wrote it shortly after my 1st birthday. He understood that time was the most valuable commodity. When Keshia and I were still very young dad worked for a company that required him to leave before we woke up and return after we went to bed. We rarely saw him. My mom says that I came in to her one day and asked, “When is daddy going to come visit?” I didn’t realize he lived with us at the time. When mom relayed my message to dad, she tells me he just sat down and wept. He told her that something had to change. Without knowing what he was doing, he left a secure job and started working for himself. We didn’t have everything we wanted (materially) but we had our daddy. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
He wasn’t just a dad to me and Keshia. He was sort of a community dad. He took care of many other kids along the way and treated them just like they were his own children. There are many friends, cousins, in-laws, co-workers, and church members here today that know exactly what I’m referring to.
6. He taught us how to work hard.
In a time when so many people are looking for handouts, my dad wouldn’t accept anything that he didn’t feel that he had earned from his labor. He had such a physically demanding occupation. He would wake up before most people and work long hours, then when he got home there was always something else he had to work on. Getting to work with my dad for several years on construction sites I grew to appreciate his work ethic. He never was one to cut corners.
He was always positive while on the job site… He would often tell me (or anyone who worked with him) to put a little pep in their step, we are almost finished, which we all knew meant we had a long way to go.
I loved to pick on him and accuse him of making me do all the hard work while he did the easy stuff. However, the fact of the matter is, my dad was the strongest, hardest working man I’ve ever been around. There was a time in high school that my dad had to install a display unit he had built and I was out of town and no one was able to help him, so he loaded it in the truck by himself. It weighed 800 pounds.
He would tell me recently that my arms were getting too big and that I was getting too strong. The fact is, I will never be as strong as he was. He didn’t go to the gym. He simply worked hard, every day of his life. even as recent as a week ago, mom tells me that dad spent several hours outside swinging an axe. I doubt you could find a single individual that wouldn’t tell you that my dad had an incredible work ethic.
Most people talk about being proud of their kids… I can not express the pride I have to tell people who my mom and dad are.
7. He taught me how to laugh
He loved life. He always had a positive outlook on life. He was always the “life of the party” he loved picking on people, and he loved it when they would pick back at him. When I think about my father, the image that I have is a man that is full of love, selflessness, and a smile that could light up any room.
Dad was one of the most masculine men I’ve ever known. He loved football, he loved competing with me in various physical events (running the 40) even with all of his manliness, he had no problem wearing his granddaughters pink tiara’s and having a tea party.
I will always cherish the fact that even while in the hospital he was joking and picking on people. He was teasing us for being worried about Him. He also felt uncomfortable by the fact that people were coming to see him, after all, they had “other things” they could be doing. Because he was in ICU his grandkids weren’t allowed in to see him. So he asked me to take a video on my phone of him talking to them. He was telling them that the only reason they couldn’t see him is because of those “mean ol doctors.”
Recently Meagan has told me on several occasions that I am turning into my father. I hope she is right.
This sudden pain doesn’t seem real. At times, we don’t know what to think or do. All that I know is that we were SO blessed because of his life.
Mom tells me that dad would sit in his chair in the living room and when he was having a bad day he would talk about all of the negative things surrounding him. Mom said she would point at the wall that had the pictures of his grandkids… He would smile and say, God has been so good to us, we are blessed.
We do not understand. We don’t know why or how. But, we know that God is good, and we will praise him for caring for my dad.
Nahum 1:7-The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
If you want to honor my dad. Give God your heart (not in word only, but by obedience to His Word) and allow your love to flow from you freely. I miss you daddy. you have always been my hero