You may have read that title, and thought that I was going to talk about my son — and I could, except I would have to talk about my sons. This morning, I want to share with you a special memory that I have of a special man, and his son. When Jerry Edwards and I were sharing an apartment in Rogersville, Alabama; our neighbors across the street were Roy and Petey Trousdale, and their two children Roy Mac and Benja. That family had a heart of gold, because they endured a lot from the two of us. Jerry lived there for about a year, before he moved to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee; to be the youth minister for the Pulaski Street church. I stayed there another year, and then moved 5-6 miles to the east on Snake Road to preach for the Cedar Grove church. But even after I moved there, Roy and Petey were still an indispensable part of my life. I’m sure that there were, at least, a couple of years, that they could have claimed me as a deduction on their taxes.
I really don’t know how old Roy was when Roy Mac was born, but I’m pretty sure that he was considerably older; than most of the fathers of the other boys Roy Mac’s age. On top of that, Roy had several medical problems that hindered his lifestyle. I believe that he had asthma, emphysema, and diabetes; and he couldn’t go and do like a lot of the other fathers did. Bobby Whitehead told me the story of when Roy Mac was young, and was running all over the place, and Roy was struggling to keep up with him. Someone asked him, and I believe it was Bobby, “Roy what do you need to keep up with him?” Roy was bent over, trying to catch his breath, and without even looking up, said “Three lungs.” But there is one thing that I do know, there was not a father that was prouder of his son, than Roy was of Roy Mac. He’d go watch him play football and baseball, at times when he didn’t feel like being there, and he would talk to me about how Roy Mac played in the different games. His heart would soar when they won, and his heart would break, when they lost (because he knew how much losing hurt Roy Mac). You could watch his chest swell with pride when he talked about his son. Really, he was not much different than any other dad, but it just seemed to me; that it may have been really special to him. I don’t know if it was because he was older, and waited longer to have the joy of being a father, or it was just his nature.
This morning, as I was reading in Luke 1, I was reminded of Roy, as I read about another father that was advanced in years. Now Scripture defines Zechariah and, his wife, Elizabeth as being “very old.” You would never in a million years catch me saying that about Roy and Petey, but Zechariah’s story rang out loud to me this morning. I could not tell you how many times I have read Luke 1, probably 8 or 9 in the last year; but Zechariah’s prophecy more personal this morning — than most other mornings. Listen to what the text says:
Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited and redeemed his people.
He has sent us a mighty Savior
from the royal line of his servant David,
just as he promised
through his holy prophets long ago.
Now we will be saved from our enemies
and from all who hate us.
He has been merciful to our ancestors
by remembering his sacred covenant—
the covenant he swore with an oath
to our ancestor Abraham.
We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live.
“And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:67-79, NLT)
Obviously, you can see in that first section, that he is offering praise to God for remembering His covenant with Abraham, and how that God is going to rescue them from their enemies, and they will be able to serve God without fear. BUT, that second section, he calls John “my little son” — can you not hear the pride in his voice. That God would choose to use his son, for a mission that would lead the people to find salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.
All fathers need to proud of their sons, and they need to teach them how to live — so that they can be proud. But, if our sons choose to play a role in the teaching of the gospel — helping people to find salvation, through the forgiveness of sins — we can be especially proud, like Zechariah. I will admit, that even though I have read that prophecy from Zechariah many times, this morning may be the first time I have ever heard/seen the pride from Zechariah in it.
Fathers, we have an important task — raising young children, our children, to follow Jesus. We will always be proud of them, but help them to find the path to Jesus; and teach them how to tell others how to find that path. Peace.
(I not very computer literate, and struggle with a lot of things that my computer can do. If you notice on this blog, the spacing in the first half of the post is different than the spacing in the second half. I used the cut-and-paste method for putting the Scripture passage on here; and after I did that, the computer changed the spacing — I don’t know how it did it, why it did it, or how to change it back! I fiddled with it a long time, and never did figure it out. So, there are times you just confess to being a dummy, and go with what you have. Bill)