Eleven years ago, on Father’s Day, our favorite daughter-in-law learned that she was expecting her first child. Approximately nine months later, Whitney presented our only son with his first son. Stephen’s belated Father’s Day present was the best. The announcement on Father’s Day, in 2010, that Grayson was on his way was absolutely unparalleled.
A few weeks ago, on Mother’s Day, Grayson gave his mother a wonderful gift. Earlier in the week, he had written her a note at school that was both heartwarming and humorous. In the note, he told her how thankful he was to have her as his mom. I wrote about it in this column.
But the note wasn’t the most wonderful gift he gave his mom. At church that Sunday, he spoke with their pastor and told him he wanted to commit his life to God, and he prayed to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He had been thinking about that decision for several months and had spoken with his parents, grandparents, Sunday School teachers and others at church regarding the significance of such a commitment. He had been enrolled in a special class at church, and he felt like the time was right. Giving his heart to Christ was the greatest gift he could have given to all of us who love him.
The next Sunday, we were in church with the Playls, Jr. Previously we had made plans to visit them in Middle Tennessee that weekend. The big question for us that day was, “When will we be coming back to Mt. Juliet for Grayson’s baptism?”
Within our faith community, baptism is the outward profession of one’s faith and a statement that the individual has prayed to receive Christ, committing their life to follow His teachings and live for Him. Along with that inward, spiritual commitment, baptism is the most important event for every Christian.
After discussing calendars and the importance of the occasion, it was decided that Grayson would be baptized in the worship service on Father’s Day. How appropriate!
Can you understand why Sammie and I were so excited about traveling to the Nashville area again this Father’s Day? Not only did I, as a father, get to spend the day with my son and one of my daughters; not only did we get to spend the weekend with two of our seven stinking cute grandchildren, the only ones with my family name; not only did we get to see two of those grandkids spend Father’s Day with the only one of our four children who is also a father; but we were there to witness Grayson’s baptism. I wish you could have been with us to share this wonderful celebration.
“...buried with Christ by baptism into death...raised to walk in newness of life!”
“...when Jesus came up out of the water, the Spirit descended on him like a dove...”
What a great Father’s Day gift! But the greatest gift of all was actually given - by the Father to all of us - long before “Father’s Day” was even conceived in someone’s mind.
The Greatest Gift? The one given to us by the Father? It’s announced in that very familiar verse, John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
No matter who your earthly father is, you can celebrate Father’s Day as a child of the Heavenly Father. It just takes a little child-like faith.
Steve Playl, columnist, college instructor, retired pastor, and chaplain, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.