The Voice of Conviction: A Father’s Example

The following story was taken from a newsletter by Christian book publisher Mark Hamby. At one point or another we’ve all been guilty of this sort of behaviour. I know I have. And I thank God for the wise counsel of a good friend, a man who didn’t neglect his duty to point that out to me (in a loving Christian manner) a couple years ago when I made a similar mistake.

The Bible admonishes us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Father’s, remember little eyes are watching you.

Help us, Father in heaven, to live our lives above reproach, to live in such a way that we would reflect You to our son’s and daughter’s. We don’t want to be a stumbling block to them. When we do make a mistake, help us to quickly repent so they too can witness and experience Your Mercy and Grace.

Not a Joking Matter  
Once, I received a humorous email from a friend that made me laugh so hard that it brought me to tears. So I sent the story to my brother-in-law and my two adult boys.

My youngest son replied, “What’s this?” Deep inside, there was a still small voice telling me that something was wrong. You see, the humorous story had one crude remark. The story was quite harmless, but my youngest son was letting me know that he had higher expectations of me.

But I drowned out the voice of conviction. After all, most of my family had been prodding me for years to lighten up. But then I received an email from my sister-in-law who had read the story before her husband. She wrote simply, “Great story, Pastor Hamby.” Seeing the title “pastor” in the address I could tell that she did not approve. Still, I wasn’t willing to let her rule my conscience . . . the story was no big deal, and besides, her husband would get a good laugh.

Then I received another letter (not an email) from a man named Paul. He was writing to a group of believers who had not understood the cancerous effects of crude joking. This is what he wrote: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4). God had convicted me, and I realized that He was calling me to repentance and holiness.

The world desperately wants us to join in on superficial fun that robs us of eternal joy. That joy can only come to the pure in heart, for it is the pure in heart who see God, as well as the incredible life He’s planned for us!

-Mark Hamby

Such A Father

This is an excerpt from John Paton’s autobiography, an excerpt in which Paton describes leaving his home in Torthorwald to attend missionary school in Glasgow (just to get to the train he had to walk some forty miles). His godly father accompanied him for the first portion of the journey, knowing that accepting the missionary life was accepting the call to leave family and very probably never see them again.

Here is what happened:

My dear father walked with me the first six miles of the way. His counsels and tears and heavenly conversation on that parting journey are fresh in my heart as if it had been but yesterday; and tears are on my cheeks as freely now as then, whenever memory steals me away to the scene. For the last half mile or so we walked on together in almost unbroken silence – my father, as was often his custom, carrying hat in hand, while his long flowing yellow hair (then yellow, but in later years white as snow) streamed like a girl’s down his shoulders. His lips kept moving in silent prayers for me; and his tears fell fast when our eyes met each other in looks for which all speech was vain! We halted on reaching the appointed parting place; he grasped my hand firmly for a minute in silence, and then solemnly and affectionately said: “God bless you, my son! Your father’s God prosper you, and keep you from all evil!”

Unable to say more, his lips kept moving in silent prayer; in tears we embraced, and parted. I ran off as fast as I could; and, when about to turn a corner in the road where he would lose sight of me, I looked back and saw him still standing with head uncovered where I had left him – gazing after me. Waving my hat in adieu, I rounded the corner and out of sight in instant. But my heart was too full and sore to carry me further, so I darted into the side of the road and wept for time. Then, rising up cautiously, I climbed the dike to see if he yet stood where I had left him; and just at that moment I caught a glimpse of him climbing the dike and looking out for me! He did not see me, and after he gazed eagerly in my direction for a while he got down, set his face toward home, and began to return – his head still uncovered, and his heart, I felt sure, still rising in prayers for me. I watched through blinding tears, till his form faded from my gaze; and then, hastening on my way, vowed deeply and oft, by the help of God, to live and act so as never to grieve or dishonor such a father and mother as he had given me.