My beloved father passed away in April 2007. Peter and I, along with other family members, were privileged to be with him to the last. I wrote the following thoughts down shortly before my dad went on to his reward. It was meant to be both a tribute to him and a challenge to others. It is now time to share these private thoughts to challenge us all, both Messianic believers and Christians.
I am sitting here listening to the clock ticking away the precious little time I have left with my dad. I loathe every ticking sound because I can do nothing to stop the time from slipping away.
As it turns out, my father is Jewish. He never felt free enough to share this with us until a little over a year ago. Do I see a Jewish person when I look at my father? Not really. I never really knew him that way. But I will tell you what I see when I look at him. I see a man who loves Yeshua, only Dad calls him Jesus. I see a man who has worked hard all his life, who is almost ridiculously honest and fair, and who quietly gives to others and shares without asking anything in return. I see a man who is wasting away and who endures horrifying suffering, yet uses the tiny bits of strength and energy left to him to love and care for others. I see a man who is not wrapped up in his ethnicity; instead, he is following his Messiah to the best of his ability. I see a man who truly knows Jesus and tries to be like Him.
A few days before his death, my younger brother and his son sat with Dad for hours, one on each side and each holding one of his hands. As they were leaving, he said, “I love you. Remember, if you need anything, I’m here.” Dad was so weak he couldn’t even leave his bed. My father showed his love for us through quiet service. He did not seek to draw attention to himself. His faith was quiet, but strong.
Dad did not tell others of Yeshua in words. Instead, he showed them Yeshua’s love through his actions. Many people approached us after he died to mourn with us. Most of them shared stories of how he had helped them, whether it was by making repairs or running them to doctors’ appointments. I truly believed that when Dad met his Master, he was welcomed home with open arms.
The minutes are ticking away for each of us. Do we think that our ethnicity, our “correct” observance of religious rituals, or our intellectual abilities are going to win us any points with the Master? What are you doing with your life? Would your Master be pleased? Will He know you when you stand before Him?
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death (1 John 3:14).