I close today by paying tribute to two of my fathers. Now I don’t have a physical step-dad or anything, but I do have two dads. One is my physical dad, and the other is my father in the ministry.
Now my real dad was a pastor, too. He always set a clear example for me to follow. He told me the truth and he lived out the truth in his life. I feared him because he would let me have it if I disobeyed. I respected him because I never recall him asking me to practice anything he wasn’t already practicing in his life. But there’s one incident that just took my respect to a whole new level.
It was the summer of 1975. Our church was pretty typical for the south: traditional, entrenched, troubled. We had no idea of just how troubled until it all erupted in some pretty ugly events in one church business meeting. As a 16 year-old boy, I was so angry at the end of what I observed that I just wanted to stand up in my pew and start shouting people down and calling them out for the hypocrites I thought they were. But I watched as my father stepped to the microphone and with great grace and dignity handled everything. He set an example for me and that’s why he has always been so influential in my life.