It is 9am in the morning, early Spring 2020, and there is Dad, sitting in his recliner in the living room reading his Bible. Three months earlier, over the Christmas break, I walk into my living room at around 9am, and there is Dad reading a book on grace, with his Bible opened next to it. 30 years before that, I remember walking into our hotel room in Gdansk, Poland, mid-morning, and there is dad sitting on the floor with books all around him and his Bible open on his lap reading.
I am sure you get the connection by now. Dad loved God and he loved to read and study God’s Word – the Bible. It didn’t matter the topic, except maybe eschatology, where he wasn’t keenly interested and well-studied on doctrinal nuances.
Joshua 1:8 says, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Throughout my life, I watched Dad walk out Joshua 1:8 in his spiritual life on a daily basis. He was truly a towering example of daily, spiritual discipline.
Those of you who knew Dad, likely knew him through his preaching, teaching, or his books – and you most probably remember his harrowing stories. What you did not see was the daily commitment he had to staying sharp and to constantly refining his preaching skills. Barbara recently told me that there was not a day in their marriage, over the past 12+ years, that she did not see him spending 1-2 hours each morning reading/studying Scripture and praying.
Spending so much time with Dad this year, his daily lifestyle challenged me to adopt a similar way of life spiritually for myself. Even though he was stuck at home due to Covid, he was studying and preparing new sermons, readying himself for when the restrictions would lift and he would resume preaching. During one of the last conversations we had together, I said “Dad, you inspire me with you spiritual discipline. I know you do this because you’re a preacher.” He quickly responded, “It may not be your profession, but it is your profession of faith.”