Father's Day - A Tribute
By Pastor Luke Jones | June 1, 2018
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)
My Dad never, to my knowledge, tied scripture to his forehead, but he has always talked about the words of God with his family, whether we were at home or traveling, resting or working. Though, as I have said recently, it is difficult to separate my father’s influence on me from my mother’s because they raised me together in excellent partnership with each other, today I honor my father, Steve Jones.
It was my father who taught me how to move my feet with purpose. When I was 10, I watched the way my father walked, with a certain understated purpose in his stride that looked so cool and strong. I wanted to walk just like him. One Sunday, walking to the car after church, dad saw me trying to imitate his walk, as I often did, and said something to the effect of, “the more important thing to learn is to walk in a way that obeys God.” Then we talked together on the way home about what kind of life will please God. Thank you, Dad.
It was my father who came and listened to me and comforted me after I had become so frustrated at a piano recital that I quit in the middle of a song and ran out the back of the church, crying. I don’t remember a word he said, but I remember that first, he let us sit together silently, then he listened to me tell him about my overwhelming feelings before he said anything. And though I’m sure I had embarrassed both of my parents terribly, he didn’t scold me at all but he did tell me with gentle inflexibility that I had to go back into that church and finish that song. That day I learned not to run away. Thank you, Dad.
A few weeks before I married Jenny, Dad helped me pack up my dorm room at Seattle Pacific University and we drove back to San Jose together. On that drive, he asked if I wanted some advice before I got married. Now my parents have one of the strongest, healthiest marriages I have ever seen, so of course I said, “yes.” Dad said, “I think you have a problem with pride.” I immediately started preparing my defense in my mind, but Dad continued, interrupting my thoughts. He said, “and I know I am right because I can tell that right now you are getting ready to argue that you are not prideful.” Well that was exactly what this proud know-it-all needed to hear to knock the hot air out of me. We talked a lot on that drive about how a marriage had to be built on humility and self-sacrificial love or it was doomed to fail. Although I still struggle with pride, especially as a way to cover up insecurity, I have tried my hardest to follow that advice. Thank you, Dad.
My dad is good at listening to the Holy Spirit and not afraid to discuss what he and God are talking about with others. When I hear my dad talking about what God is working on in his own life right now, I can tell it isn’t a memory or an intentional extrapolation from popular theology. It’s my dad telling me about a current and lively relationship he has with the Creator of the universe, the Savior of his soul. That example shows me constantly how absolutely vital it is that I be in intimate contact with God every day, how rewarding it is to know in the depth of my soul that I am incomplete without God, and how much more God has for me to learn if only I will listen. My dad and mom taught me how to be a Christian by their own example, working together, recognizing and leaning on each other’s strengths, and being one in the bond of love. Thank you, Dad. I love you.
- Pastor Luke