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Who Do You Appreciate?

A good father is one of the most unsung, upraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.

Dr. Billy Graham

Father and sonIn 1924, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died … but it wasn’t always so.

The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington, right next to the little town where we currently live. Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in her eyes, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration on June 19th, 1910, in Spokane (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father’s_Day).

My father went to be with the Lord many years ago. He was a gentle and quiet man who really didn’t have much time to spend with me while I was young, but I loved him so much. His legacy to me was his kind heart and great integrity. I am so very grateful for him, and I really miss him.

It is human nature to assume and expect that those things we cherish most will always be with us. Many folks are so caught up in their careers that they don’t take time to really show their appreciation to others, especially their parents. I’m thankful that the Lord gave me almost four months during my dad’s battle with cancer to “get it right”.

Dad enjoyed going for rides, watching the A’s games, and popping down to the donut shop to get a cup of coffee and a donut. None of these things were favorites with me; however, I knew dad enjoyed them, so they became important to me. My greatest regrets in life revolve around not spending more time with my dad.

Obviously, we don’t have to wait for a national holiday to honor our dads or spend time with them. If your father is still alive, consider calling him today to let him know how much you appreciate him. Send him a note or take him to coffee if you live close. If your relationship is strained, too painful, or simply estranged, ask God if you might have any part in reconciliation. If your father has passed away or you never knew him, consider showing your appreciation for other folks in your life who have mentored you, been models of faith, and offered you encouragement. In America, we spell love: T-I-M-E. Let’s not be too busy to show our appreciation.

There have been a few precious men in my life who know God and model His wisdom and love to me. In a time when so many of our role models have failed, it is comforting to know that these men of God stand firm as my “Barnabas friends”. Thanks guys!

Personal Application

As you begin to think about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, how can you make it extra special for your loved ones? If they have passed, then who do you know that doesn’t have a loved one nearby to bless them. Reach out and encourage them with a word of hope. “For God said, ‘Honor your father …’” (Matthew 15:4A)

If you know of a grievance against a relative that separates you from their fellowship, why not try and reach out to them with your love and comfort. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

Ask God how you might show your appreciation to your father or those in your life who have truly made a difference. If you have a painful past with your father, ask God to bring healing.

Jim Grassi image and signature  Jim Grassi, D. Min.