As I was reflecting on what to preach next Sunday for Father's Day, I saw that my life as a father has been richly blessed. The Lord has blessed my wife and me with four wonderful daughters. When we were parents of the first one and the second one was on the way, we wondered if we could love another child as much as we loved the first. Then the second came, and the third and the fourth and we found out that one's love keeps increasing. One keeps on loving. Then a son-in-law was added and a grandson and the love keeps expanding. Some of my daughters kiddingly tell me now that I love my grandson more than them, but they know that is not true. They are loved and I find out that my love for them grows every day. I love them and I am proud to be their father.
However, for this article I want to look at a special blessing that God gave me this year. It is a blessing that few fathers ever have. I was blessed to have my oldest daughter as my part-time secretary here at the church for 8 months.
In the beginning it had its moments of awkwardness and adjustment. She is my fourth secretary at the church in my 17 years as the pastor of the church. She followed an excellent secretary who was here for over 8 years. Many things were set and they had to be quickly learned. I run the office on simple concepts of confidence and striving for excellence. Church people call and stop by to see the pastor and they want their confidentiality kept. My students from the seminary call and they want immediate answers to their questions. Boards, committees, professional colleagues and seminary deans want me to be accessible.
The first six months of work together have gone fast. My daughter learned to read my scribbled notes, to work on two computers, to edit my articles and sermons, to talk with leisure or urgency in her voice, to make sure that people show up to meetings on time and while I am away, to send me the important messages and handle the ones that are not so urgent.
One of my favorite pictures of my oldest daughter is when her mother and I brought her home from the hospital and I held her in the palm of my hand. Now she is a fourth year college student, she is a wife and a mother, and she is my secretary. We are co-workers in the Kingdom of God.
I watch her closely. She is in many ways her mother's daughter, but in many ways she behaves like I do. She has her mother's perfectionism and my love for ideas. Nevertheless, it was a great excitement for me to see her exceed her parents in knowledge, skillfulness and in understanding of the world in which she lives. It is a very different world than when I was her age and I was ready to graduate from the college that I attended. But both of us have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jehovah is our Heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit is our Guide and our Comforter and we had this glorious privilege to serve God's people through this office for this short time.
On this Father's Day, I praise God for His gracious gift of allowing me to work with my oldest daughter. Indeed, a glorious Father's Day gift!