Okay, I made that up, but I am viewing today as “Spiritual Father’s Day.” I didn’t write this yesterday out of deference to my biological father, but today I will.
A spiritual father is a man who has been a father to me in the spiritual realm. In this area, I have been extremely blessed, for I have had 3 of them. And even though they were all fathers, I was unable to send them a card or give them a call yesterday to wish them a “Happy Father’s Day” for all of them have experienced their reward from their Lord Jesus.
A father is to train a son. That’s what the word that is often translated as “discipline” in the Bible means. It is education and training. It is not a reaction or consequence for stepping out of line. It is not what it is taught from many pulpits as being.
I will speak of them in the order in which they entered my life.
Dale Redfield came into my life in the Fall of 1986. I called him “Grandpa.” He was my wife’s maternal grandfather. He went to his glory in August 2002. There were two things that Grandpa consistently and constantly gave: kindness and time. And he gave those because of the three things he knew to be the most important: faith, relationships, and being a good steward.
Practically everything he did found its source from those three important things. And for 16 years, I watched and learned. Grandpa had a profound effect on me. He taught me what it meant to be a man of faith who nurtures those around him. And I’m still learning from the lessons he taught me for I still have a distance to go, but I am where I am because of Grandpa.
Next is Dr. Carl B. Hoch, Jr., who came into my life in the Fall of 1990 as I entered seminary. Herr Hoch was my advisor and taught many of the classes I would take during those years. He went to his glory in March 1999. Herr Hoch taught me to be a biblical theologian. He taught me to let the text speak for itself and follow where it led.
This training has greatly assisted me as I have wrestled with different topics and passages of Scripture. I am the theologian I am today because of Herr Hoch.
Last is the Reverend Dr. Fred Moore who came into my life in January 1993 as I entered my first pastorate. I consider Pastor Fred my mentor in ministry. He went to his glory in May 1996. I am the pastor I am because of Pastor Fred and what he lived out in front of me.
And Pastor Fred did something else for me in being my mentor. He literally lived out scripture in front of me, for he lived out 2 Corinthians 12:9 where God says to the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for the power is perfected in weakness.” Because of that, Paul said, “Therefore, I will gladly boast all the more in my weaknesses, so that power of Christ should rest upon me.”
Due to a rare genetic disorder, Pastor Fred did not live a day without pain, yet I rarely heard him speak of it. What he exuded was extreme grace to all who were around him. And that was a powerful thing to watch.
So, “Happy Spiritual Father’s Day” to Grandpa, Herr Hoch, and Pastor Fred. Know that each of you left an indelible mark on me and, through your lives and training, have made me the man, theologian, and pastor I am today and am becoming as I build upon what you established in me through training and by example.