Things My Father Taught Me

Posted on June 19, 2011 by

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I am blessed to come from a family that is so unusually functional in our day and age it’s almost an oddity. My parents are still together (after thirty-plus years), I get along well with my parents (to this day they remain some of my very closest friends), and I and all of my siblings are living happy and fulfilling lives serving the Lord together at First Baptist Las Colinas. Melody (my older sister) has married a godly man (Donald), and they have a beautiful daughter (Danielle). Sophie and I have one child in Glory, and we pray that more will join us here on earth in the coming years. The others aren’t married yet, but they’ll come down that road by-and-by.

Did I mention I’m one of eight children, all of which have the same two parents?

Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal, if you’ve grown up in a similar environment. But think about it. In an age when most marriages end in divorce and people aren’t even having the 2.8 children that it takes to maintain the population; when more and more couples now are deciding it doesn’t make sense to get married when you can just live together; and when most children get an average of just six minutes a day with their dads, clearly good families don’t happen by accident.

Ultimately everything I am or ever will be is owing to Jesus Christ, and no family can be ultimately successful without Jesus as its foundation. But one of the truly defining marks of a successful family is the blessing of a godly father. And I have that, and it’s one of the single greatest blessings of my life.

So here are a few thoughts for this father’s day – things that my father taught to me that I will pass on to my own sons and daughters someday.

  • Responsibility – Something Dad has always emphasized is the need to take personal responsibility for your actions and for the people and things with which you have been entrusted. It’s a principle that is born out through Scripture, but it’s also a foreign concept to the modern mind, whose creed is “Responsibility, what’s that?” We don’t blame others for our problems, nor do we rely on others (like the government) to raise our kids, put food on our table, or protect our families. There is also a level of spiritual responsibility: as men and teachers of the Word, we are not only responsible for our own spiritual growth, but also how and when we teach the Word to others.
  • Courage – Both of my parents always made it a point to equip us with the integrity and moral courage it took to stand alone; to do the right thing even when it meant being unpopular or going against the flow. As I got older, many of my friends turned their backs upon the way they’d been raised and embraced the world and the things that are in the world. We got plenty of chances to learn to stand alone – even in places like our own church.
  • Protectiveness – As an extension of his love for us, Dad has always been a very protective man. And he’s passed that lion-like ardor on to his sons. Dad taught me even when I was young that it was my job to look out for my sisters; my job to protect my family. It’s a role that to this day I take very seriously. A love of the tools of protection, such as firearms, have come with that, and that’s something else I share with my Dad. Dad taught me to shoot, and remains one of the most naturally-gifted marksmen I have ever seen.
  • How to Love My Wife – Dad taught me how to shoot, how to drive, and how to love my wife. Not only that, he taught me the same principles that you need to do well with all three. “Marriage is like your gun or your car,” he’d tell me. “Take care of it and it will take care of you. Everything takes maintenance. When you stop working on your marriage, that’s when things will start to break down.” Dad’s always been a very loving man and I’ve been able to see his love for my mother and pattern my own marriage after that.
  • How to Read My Bible – Dad taught me how to spend quality time with the Word of God that went beyond just skimming. He taught us how to dig down for truth, and how to see the hidden applications and truths of even the most baffling verses. The household environment that Dad engendered was one in which the Word of God was ultimately supreme. Even if we weren’t consistent about our family Bible study times, Scripture and godly music were an integral part of each day. I think this is one of the lessons that was “more caught than taught.” Dad loves the Word of God – I feel confident in saying he loves it more than anything else in this world. And nothing is more important to him than hearing it taught and seeing it impact the lives of others.
  • What God is Like – Dad isn’t perfect and I don’t mean for a moment to give the impression that he is. But he never failed to remind us that though he had his shortcomings and failings, we have a heavenly father who loves and disciplines us perfectly. I was able to glimpse a bit of that through my loving, forgiving earthly father who also disciplined us when we needed it – and I needed it a lot! He always made sure we knew why we were being disciplined; why our actions had consequences and why they grieved the heart of Jesus.

I don’t idolize my father or turn a blind eye to the ways in which God is continuing to refine him “as silver” and make him a better father. And I realize that some of you reading this may not have had the blessing of a father like mine. Let me remind you that, if you are a child of the King, you have a Heavenly Father who will never disappoint and who will always love you and will always meet your needs.

The things in life of which I am truly proud – my parents, my family, my wife, and my Savior – are not of my own doing. They are gifts from God. And I am deeply grateful for His unmerited generosity. I am proud to bear the name of Rohlin, and I am proud to be called Robert Rohlin’s son. I pray the Lord gives us many more years to serve in ministry together. Thanks, Dad, for everything you’ve taught me. May I have the humility to keep learning.

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