I usually write about topics that are geeky in nature, often connecting them to my faith. But today is a little different. Later this morning, we will be celebrating the life of my father-in-law, who passed away a week ago today.
The first part of Genesis 6:4 says "There were giants in the earth in those days...." This verse has been rolling around in my thoughts for the past several days. My wife's father was never really very tall. I think at his best he was 5'8". But there is so much more to being a great man than stature.
He was a giant in his integrity. Early on in his service as a Salvation Army officer, he was recognized as a leader and began a series of appointments in the administration that ultimately led to his final appointment at the International Headquarters in London. He inherited this send of responsibility and integrity in all he did from his parents and he passed it on to his three beautiful daughters (I happen to be partial to one in particular). People respected him because he was the same in all his dealings with people, regardless of who they were or where they came from.
He was a giant in his love and care for his children. Birthdays and holidays were always special. There were certain days he always made it a point to be home in order to celebrate with family. He was gentle and firm, taking time to teach when the opportunity presented itself. For each of his three sons-in-law, he became a second father, welcoming us into the family, integrating us into the traditions and trusting us with his previous daughters. Even on the day he passed, he was working hard to make sure that his family would be well cared-for when his time on earth was concluded.
He was a giant in his care and concern for others. There are more stories than I can count from others who have shared with us about his compassionate interactions with people. He was constantly seeking to being people that he knew home to their long-abandoned faith. Or time he would assist those who were less fortunate, even buying shoes for children who were waiting with their mothers in line to receive Christmas toys from The Salvation Army.
Finally, he was a giant in his faith in his God. As the family gathered to discuss his funeral program that he had been thoughtfully planning for many years, long before it was even discovered that he had a debilitating illness, his overriding concern was not that it would honor him or being comfort to his family, but that it would somehow encourage others to examine their relationship with Jesus, and possibly allow Him to transform their lives. He not only preached his faith, he lived it.
In the parlance of The Salvation Army, he has "laid down his sword" and received his "promotion to glory." He has also left a legacy for those of us still here on this earth to follow. We may not be the giants he was, but he has left us some pretty big footsteps to follow in.