Dear Son in the Faith,
As I draw nearer to the time the Father calls me home I want to take this opportunity to transmit to you some things I want to make sure you never forget. Ever since we first met I’ve been seeking to teach you things and I’m sure you remember very little of it. That’s OK, I understand. What’s more, I understand that I’ve been teaching you even when I wasn’t trying to teach you. You’ve seen my life – the good, the bad and the ugly. You’ve seen me at my bet and you’ve seen me when I wasn’t my best. Through it all, and over and above all the stuff I’ve taught you, preached to you and sought to model before you are three things that, when you think of me and the role I’ve played in your life, I want you to never forget.
- Never forget the importance of INTEGRITY. By this I mean t you need to be a complete and all in terms of who you are, what you say and what you do. You need to be the same guy on Tuesday morning as you are on Sunday night. You need to be striving to fulfill the characteristics of a godly man spelled out in 1 Timothy 3 and you need to be that kind of man no matter where you are and under what circumstances. Your wife and kids should be able to say of their husband and father, “My husband, my father is the ‘real deal’. He’s not perfect but he really is striving to be a godly man, a man of prayer, a man of the word, a true disciple of Jesus Christ.”
- Never forget the importance of LOVE. Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. Love other people. Be an imitator of God in the way He loves. Extend to others the same mercy and grace that God constantly extends to you. Love your wife – tell her you love her often and show her by doing loving things for her. Love your children and show them by telling them often that you love them and by spending time with them – doing what want to do. Love people by praying for them and with them and by telling them that often that you are doing just that for them – regularly bringing them and their needs before the Father. Love sinners by spending time with them, validating them and reflecting God’s love for them in the way you respect them and their opinions – even when they radically differ from yours.
- Never forget the importance of your personal, obsessive RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ. Pursing this relationship must be the driving passion of your life. Live in love with Him in the way only a true lover can – always wanting to be alone with Him, yearning to spend time with Him, talking about Him all the time, not being able to do anything or enjoy anything of any significance without Him. Like any relationship with someone you love – this all-important relationship should bring you much joy and happiness. Don’t let serving Him in ministry ever seem to be a burden, don’t complain about the circumstances He brings your way and learn to humbly accept what He does even when it goes against what you think is ‘best’.
In closing, please forgive me, dear son, for the times in my life when I did forget these three things. Never forget that in many ways I’m just a ‘fellow-traveler’ with you and am all too human. Pray for me as I do constantly for you.
Your Brother in Christ,