When my father passed away a few years ago, many visitors at his funeral talked to me about the kind things he had done for them.
Some of the people were strangers to me. My dad rarely met a stranger. He often met new friends.
I can recall how often someone would be sitting outside on the patio with Dad, as he offered genuine concern and often wise counsel.
If the person he was speaking with was frustrated by their current position in life, my dad would quietly ask them how they ended up there.
He would not be judgmental, except to the point that he would agree with them that their circumstances were not ideal and that they could do better.
He would always try to allow people to glean from their talk that their decisions and actions of the past were often responsible for their current problems.
This revelation would often lead to the realization that making different decisions from this point forward would lead to a different outcome. (Of course, some of his guests would fail to recognize this basic premise.)
After my dad passed away, I realized that he had spent a lot of time planting seeds in the minds of those he came into contact with.
He recognized he could not solve the problems of his friends and acquaintances.
However, he could share with them the wisdom that he had been blessed to attain.
In his later years, people would seek him for Bible study.
He grew too frail for travel, so people would ask to meet with him at his home.
As I went through my Dad’s things after he died, I was not surprised to find at least a dozen Bibles, along with a multitude of biblical commentaries and dozens of various study books.
He was an ardent student of the Bible.
He didn’t just read the scriptures; he embraced, celebrated and sought to understand them.
In each of those Bibles, the initials “CWK” appeared at regular intervals in the margins.
That was how he marked his progress as he read through the Bible yet one more time, in a new translation.
I have never known of anyone so devoted to humbly seeking understanding of God’s will.
Dad grew up during a time that people knew where their food came from.
He had grown vegetables and raised cows, chickens and hogs. He knew what it was like to rejoice in a plentiful harvest but also knew that a lot of work had to be done to produce it.
He often reminded me that it is far more valuable to plant more seeds and cultivate their growth than waste my time wishing to reap a harvest that I had neither planted nor tended to.
He taught me that all of life works the same way.
Although he was generous and shared food and other necessities with strangers and friends alike, he taught that developing a dependence on handouts was a risk of asking for help.
At one point in my youth I was in dire financial circumstances. So, I went to him for help.
He told me, “Son, I love you too much to solve this problem for you. My desire is for you to become a man that depends upon himself to obtain his wants in life. If I solve this for you, I would be cheating you out of the victory that you will celebrate for the rest of your life. You must fight your way out of this circumstance and learn to forever avoid the decisions that got you into it.”
We all face challenges every day.
Although fate plays a role in everyone’s life, often our lives are determined primarily by our own decisions and actions.
If Dad were alive today, he would encourage us all to plant more seeds of friendship, seek wisdom, and make decisions that will lead us to a better place in this life and eternity.