Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their fathers.Pro 17:6
This week, a dear friend and father went on to be with our Lord.
The glory of children is their fathers. The inheritance we have the privilege to receive is but one thing, even though very important.
Imagine there were no inheritance. Each generation would start afresh. Growth would only last for a generation. There would be no way we could go from glory to glory, because the glory of the children is their fathers.
A while ago I wrote about the glory of God being to hide things, and the glory of kings to search them out. For too long we have not searched one of the places God hid so many things: in our fathers. We were too proud to admit that previous generations discovered treasures we need.
Too many times, on the other hand, we rest in our fathers revelation, until it is old and rusty. Revelation becomes religion and tradition. This is no way to honor the fathers either, by neglecting how much they had to fight the good fight of faith for those truths that we now treat as mere tradition. By accepting the form, the external as more important as the principals guiding their discovery. Faith, prayer, diligence, to search out those secrets of God.
The bible tells us that a true teacher of the word brings forth from his treasure the old and the new.
Remember Luther’s sola fide, by faith alone? Baptism as an act of faith by the Anabaptists. We can be sure of our salvation thanks to the Moravians. We know that God heals because of the healing evangelists of the 19th century. The gifts of the Spirit as rediscovered by the Pentecostal revival. The laying on of hands, the fivefold ministry, and an eschatology that is not fear based through Latter rain. And so much more. The importance of faith from the faith movement, and lately the importance of relationships and the priesthood of all. We can stand on all of this. Just as Elisha stood on the faith of Elijah, Joshua on Moses’, and even Jesus on John the Baptists’ and Timothy and Titus on Paul’s.
For too long we have forgotten the importance of fathers. We defined fathers in the faith as those that helped us say the sinner’s prayer. Did we honor them? As much as we knew, but frankly, we did not know much.
A great father has left us to be in this great cloud of witnesses that is cheering us on to wrap this thing up, to search for the next secrets of God. In his last years, he invested himself into the few that were still listening. With great wisdom he passed on treasures old and new.
Fathers invest into children to become youngsters and then sons and then let them turn around and invest themselves into new ones as fathers. Children’s children are the crown of old men. The cycle of life. But when fathers leave us, sons become patriarchs. All of them? Not all children will ever grow up to be youngsters. Some will get stuck in the “what is in it for me.” Others will never outgrow their teens and tweens. Doing is their mantra. Becoming like him. And some will be eternal sons. Grown, mature, yet not ready to have others feed on them—no fathers. And some fathers will never grow into being a patriarch, taking responsibility on a whole new level. Think of Abraham.
When fathers leave, there is a change of guard. Just as at Buckingham Palace, one regiment goes, and another starts. Authority, standards—both flags and ways of doing things—are passed on into the hands of the next generation. Who is willing to step up to the plate?
We can go on a search of a father to replace the one we lost, so we can stay a son. We can—and should for a while—mourn about the loss. Not because somebody died. He is in heaven now, no reason to mourn. But because, pretty sure, somebody died not empty. Just as Elisha died not empty, still having enough anointing in his bones to raise a dead and in that complete the full double portion he was promised.
Fathers usually do not die without giving all that they have. Rather, if that happens, there were too few sons willing to listen. I am as guilty of this as anybody.
This father, Ernie Hammond, told us that some will wake in the middle of the night and know what they are born for. Maybe it’s to become a father. Maybe it’s to become a patriarch. For sure it is to grow.
Let us all honor our fathers by taking what we learned from them, run with it, and, even more, build on it.