I remember asking my mom if Dad would ever run for president. She said no, and I couldn't understand why. Who would choose being a pastor over being president?
As an adult, I have a little more understanding. But whether my dad—who was also a bus driver and grocery clerk to cover bills—ever considered running for president or not, I'm thankful he chose to be a pastor. Because of his passion for ministry, I had a beautiful childhood full of the following unique benefits that come with life as a PK:
1. Getting to finish all the leftover bread and grape juice on Communion Sunday. Those were my favorite Sundays. The other kids were so jealous when I told them.
2. Being used as a sermon illustration. While my current pastor pays his kids a dollar every time he mentions them from the pulpit, my dad joked that my favorite sermons where the ones where he talked about me. Sometimes I would even learn stuff I didn't know. "What? My life was threatened if Dad didn't open the safe at the grocery store and put all the money in a brown paper bag for the bad guy?" Dad wouldn't do it, and after Dad quoted Scripture to him, the criminal called my mom with an apology. The story apparently made the newspaper, but I was too little to remember. And somehow I didn't find out about this until I was an adult.
3. Everybody knows who you are. Okay, many of my PK friends claim this to be a negative thing, but now that I'm a mother of teenagers, I'm thankful that when I was their age I couldn't get away with anything. Also, I have this special pride in being "Mike's daughter." It means I'm accepted without having to prove myself.
4. Meeting cool people. Sheila Walsh? Dad introduced me to them at that children's revival where we helped them break a world's record for the biggest bag of popcorn. But just as cool were the homeless people we fed, including those who lived in our basement or whom Dad bailed out of jail when they got arrested for breaking parole.
5. Learning about God's love through the heart of your father. My dad cares so much. Every time he gets his haircut, another beautician gets saved. Every time he attends a Bible study, he's got his notebook ready, like a kid who never realized school wasn't cool. Every time a Christian movie comes out, he's the first in line at the theater. Every time I need advice or someone to talk to, he's usually already on his way over before I call.
As Father's Day approaches, I'm saddened for everyone who doesn't have a father as amazing as mine. Even if your father was a pastor or president, he might not have loved the way you needed to be loved. Or maybe he's gone now. Either way, I'm so sorry. But the good news is you can have all these same benefits.
See, your Father is the King of kings. Where I got leftover bread, He's going to seat you at a banquet in front of your enemies. Where my dad used stories about me in his sermons, God is giving you an incredible story to share. Where I was accepted because of who my father is (and in spite of me), you can be too. Where my dad had some pretty cool connections, they don't even compare to what God has in store for you. And most importantly, where my dad taught me about love, your Father is love. He's there for you before you even pray.
This Father's Day, I am so thankful God is there for me. And I'm so thankful He gave me the dad He did. Here's wishing you all a beautiful Sunday of celebration, and a big thank you to my own father ... who I still think could run for president.
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