Father’s Day brings reflections on legacy

By June 7, 2011

International (MNN/Ruth Kramer) — This article is taking a slight departure from our normal news style because it's about a personal topic: dads.

We all have one. Some were intimately involved in our welfare for the good. Others were not, and the heritage they created left scars.

For the most part, our fathers did the best they could to raise us using what they knew. For those of us whose dads followed Christ, they left a rich spiritual birthright that is honored and shared. The timing of this article comes just ahead of Father's Day, which is traditionally the third Sunday of June.

It's a celebration honoring fathers and the influence of fathers in society and in their families. My dad's physical legacy includes humor, optimism and a great sense of family honor. His spiritual legacy is even bigger.

His father trained him in the ways of Christ, after the family immigrated to the United States. Most of my dad's siblings have gone into the mission field in one way or another. My dad's greatest desire was to pastor a church, but God saw fit to point him in a different direction, and he became an engineering "tentmaker." While he was not officially a "missionary," whenever he had the opportunity he shared the Gospel.

People who worked with him in his career called him "a man of integrity." They knew his principles and saw him live his life accordingly. They knew they could count on him to do the right thing…always.

When God opened doors to the mission field, Dad became the hands and feet of Christ to the truck drivers across the United States. Although his health has been failing, he is still trying to encourage those on the frontlines with devotionals he writes for the other chaplains with whom he has served.

How do I honor that? If you're like me, your dad already has everything he needs, or the things he wants are too expensive/specialized to buy. More ties aren't needed, since he's retired. Socks? He lives in a warm climate. Tools? Enter: specialized engineering/model train tools that he can give specs for, but in numbers that make no sense to me.

A material gift seems too impersonal given the personal nature of who Dad is. He took his job seriously not only as an evangelist, but also as a discipler of people who crossed his path. I am an imprint of the way the Gospel shaped him. Recognizing his lifelong investment in me, my kids, and my brother, I find it hard to bind the precision of eternal hope to a single item.   

The JESUS Film Project is offering a way to honor fathers on June 19 without the unnecessary "stuff." It's a gift that shows some thought behind it, which is what really matters to guys like my dad, plus this gift "fits" him perfectly.

If I give an Honor Gift to The JESUS Film Project in his name, it's a tribute that not only will recognize  dad on his special day but will also serve to advance the Gospel through this Global film evangelism and church-planting ministry.  

Specifically, it will help supply transportation for national film team workers who take the life-changing message of Christ to rural towns and villages in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. 

Projection equipment has to be transported to the next community, whether by man, motor, or animal power. A donation to The JESUS Film Project will help get the equipment to the most remote places where the people have yet to hear Christ's message of love and forgiveness. 

When The JESUS Film Project receives a tribute donation, a thoughtful card will be prepared and sent, letting your father know that he's been remembered in this unique way.

My dad has never been out of the country, but he's always wanted to go somewhere to share the hope of Christ. Through a program like this, now he can. There are more details here.


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