Category Archives: son
For the past four years it has been very natural for me to relate to Jesus’ story of “The Prodigal Father” and his two sons. It has been a story that has shaped my life from my growing up, my turning toward Jesus, my journey toward pastoral ministry and into marriage. I am an oldest son of two boys. Amy and I have two sons. My younger brother and his wife have two sons. As I reflect on the past 18 years since I responded to Jesus’ call to follow, I can clearly recognize moments where I have been the youngest son and the oldest son in relationship with God (and others) and how God has also invited me to be the Dad who is always longing for his sons to come home and join the party. To say the least, this has been a story that has been life shaping.
If all goes as planned, tomorrow morning between 7 and 8 am I will no longer be Dad of two and Amy will have brought our third son into the world. At this point, I don’t know what will life will be like on the other side of two sons. I have a sense, God wants to continue to shape me through the story of “The Prodigal Father” yet it may a bit more complicated as we keep our eyes and ears aware of 3 rather than 2. As I keep hearing from other dads, we move from “man-to-man” defense to “a box and 1” for a season.
Here’s to life in an unknown season where God continues to invite me into his party. May we all be open to new invitations, new seasons, and new relationships.
Last night I was reflecting with a good friend and my wife on the dynamics of how we grow in the context of community.
On Saturday, my oldest son Brighton and I were at a school riding bikes with a friend of his. When we arrived I noticed that the other boy was already on the playground riding his bike without training wheels. I knew the boy was only a month older than my son and (maybe selfishly) I wanted Brighton to try to ride his bike without his training wheels. But I regretted not bringing a wrench so I could take them off.
Brighton started to ride and was watching his friend ride. After 5 minutes he rode over and asked if he could take his training wheels off and I told him we could but it would have to wait until next time. I admit I was a bit bummed inside.
After a few more minutes, another Dad came down to the playground with his daughter and her bike. In his hand he was carrying a wrench. After he was finished, I asked if I could use it. I removed the training wheels, lowered the seat and had Brighton measure to see if he could reach the ground with both feet. Brighton sat up on his seat, I made sure we had enough room, I put my hand on the back of his seat and after 10 seconds he was off on his own. It was one of those significant moments I had thought about…teaching my boy to ride a bike. Sure he had some bumps and bruises that day, but he was ready and he was willing to risk because his friend had gone before him.
I was so proud to be present as he rode around proudly on that playground. Here is a video of Brighton riding last week (and me encouraging him):
Are you more likely to take risks and grow when others around you are doing what you haven’t done before?
I need to preface this story by saying I should be finishing my sermon for tomorrow morning. I have a few tweaks to make to it but one of my take away points is that children (and others we overlook) are not a burden to our lives. And so my son helped me take to heart this point tonight as I was putting him to bed.
Tonight I found myself talking with my oldest son in our kitchen about the reality of the Kingdom of God. I want him to understand at an early age how big God’s Kingdom is and how he gets to participate in God’s work wherever God is present. So here I was talking with a little boy about this huge idea that many brillant theologians, let alone me, have a difficult time explaining in a clear and brief explanation. In fact, Jesus only tells stories about the Kingdom because it is so hard to explain and understand. Stories help illustrate the beautiful mess that the Kingdom is.
I tried to explain how big God’s Kingdom is by raising my arms as high as I could and said, “The Kingdom of God is bigger than Daddy.” I didn’t see it click in his eyes, so I pointed at our house (or the walls of our kitchen) and raised my voice (slightly) and said, “It’s bigger than our house!” Again, I didn’t see it click so I stretched my arms out as far as I could stretch, raised my voice again and said, “It’s bigger than Legoland!!” By the way, he had just gone to his favorite place on earth (atleast for the moment). His eyes got real big and he had a huge smile on his face like he understood.
May we be people that learn to communicate the Kingdom of God through story…our story, God’s story and even stories that little boys can understand.