A Devotional Thought
by Pastor Phil
A Psalm of David
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
I was at the airport in Denver waiting for the connecting flight to Chicago when my phone rang. It was my brother calling to tell me my dad had just died. Only a few hours earlier I had received a call to come, dad only had a day or two to live. Two hours later, I was on a plane, but I didn’t make it. Dad had defied the odds once again.
Four months earlier dad had been diagnosed with cancer it was a type of cancer that is successfully treated 90% of the time. Those are great odds, but dad beat them.
The week before he died, I was with him in the hospital. The doctors had just discovered that the cancer had entered his central nervous system and they moved aggressively to attack it. The day I left to return home the oncologist told me dad would be singing in a week. A week later dad was singing...in heaven. He always was an overachiever.
My dad never went to college, but still worked his way into management at his company. He never had formal ministry training, yet he led church youth groups, directed camps, taught Sunday School, and led small group Bible studies, always as a volunteer. He seemed to achieve more than his quiet nature and lack of formal education would suggest was possible.
The reason he achieved so much is that my dad intuitively followed the pattern of Psalm 23. He and my mom had made the Lord their Shepherd as children and followed Him all their lives. They consistently prayed and read their Bibles and taught their children to do the same. Through their study of God’s word they discovered God’s paths of righteousness and followed them, guiding me and my brothers to do the same.
There must have been dark valleys for my parents. There were unexpected deaths in our extended family and my dad endured a months long strike at his work. Yet I have no memories of darkness, even during those times. What I remember is a hope and love that gave confidence that all would be well. The certainty of God’s presence encouraged my parents in hard times and that confidence rubbed off on me.
Growing up, we never had the “best” of anything. We didn’t have the best house, the best car, the best clothes, or the best stuff. However, we did have the best mother and father and our cup overflowed with love.
You can fake a faith in God on Sunday mornings in church, but you can’t fake it every day at home in front of your family. My dad’s faith was real. He knew God, trusted God and lived for God. I can only imagine the number of people today who know God, love God, and are sharing God’s love because of the people he influenced through his camps, youth groups, Sunday school classes, and small group studies, as well as through his character and integrity at work. As a result, goodness and mercy followed him, touching those he came in contact with and spreading far and wide. Goodness and mercy continue to be his legacy as I and my three brothers have followed in his footsteps and made the Lord our Shepherd.
Since my dad’s death, I have found incredible peace in knowing that dad is now dwelling in the house of the Lord forever. Before his death, I knew that the promise of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ
give a person hope and peace. Now, I
it does. God’s rod and staff – His presence – have comforted me tremendously.
I have walked with God long enough to know with certainty that dad’s death isn’t the end of his life, or mine. Dad continues on in God’s presence and I continue on with God’s presence in me. I know there is a table set before me that God has prepared. I have a future full of promise that I can step confidently into thanks to the foundations of faith and love my dad and mom formed in my life.
This is the legacy my dad has left in my life. This is the blessing that comes from following the Lord as your Shepherd over a lifetime.
Whose legacy of faith has made an impact on your life?
What legacy will you leave? Everyday is an opportunity to start, or add to, a legacy.