I grew up in a Christian home. There were four of us kids, an older brother, Bob, older sister, Peggy, and a younger sister, Laura. My father, A. L. “Buck” Gifford, (we called him Daddy… common in the south) was a good, gentle and hard-working man. He was self-employed as a mechanic with a gas station and garage. Our town, Trenton, Georgia, was and still is small. In order to earn enough to support his family, Daddy had to work from 8:00 am ’til 9:00 pm six days a week. Our time with him was limited, but we dearly loved him and he loved us. Even as children we knew that his hard work to support his family was evidence of his love.
The discipline of the three of us girls rested with our mother. (Wow, she knew how to discipline.) Daddy took care of the discipline of our big brother. Usually when Bob was “out back” being disciplined, mother, my two sisters and I were inside crying together. Even though I did not fear the wrath of my father, in my heart I wanted to please him. I only remember one time that we three sisters experienced daddy’s wrath. Our mother was ill following a miscarriage and daddy had the responsibility to “take care” of us. He took us to grandma’s to stay a few hours. Grandma had some neighbors who were not a good influence. We wanted to go visit and play with their kids. Daddy said no. But while he was out taking care of things, we decided to sneak off and have fun. Well, our fun only lasted a short time. A narrow path led from grandma’s house up to the neighbor’s house. I looked up and coming up the path carrying a long, skinny, hickory tree limb was our daddy. I quickly alerted my sisters and we began to run towards grandma’s house. Wrong decision! Daddy chased us down the path wielding the hickory switch and getting in some pretty solid hits. Ouch, that hurt! We had displeased our father and that hurt the most. We had caused him grief in our disobedience. We had caused him sorrow in his responsibility to discipline us.
From that experience, I learned two lessons – avoid the wrath of my father and behave in such a way that he would be pleased. My father passed away in 1995 at the age of 82. The memory of his gentleness, goodness, meekness, work ethic, compassion for others, love for his Heavenly Father, family, and his church lives on in my heart. Just as I wanted to live to please my earthly father, from the depths of my heart, my desire is to please my Heavenly Father. As I grow older, the desire becomes greater, for I have learned that the most important thing in life is to please God. Regardless of the circumstances of my life, when He is pleased with me, my life is filled with peace and contentment. Every sincere Christian has this same desire. Jesus is our example. He said, “…the Father hath not left me alone: for I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). Let’s consider some ways that we can please our Father.
1. Have Faith in Him – “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Trust Him with your life, your circumstances, your possessions, your past, present and future. Have faith in His Word, the Bible. Take time to be with Him by reading and studying His Word, by talking to Him in prayer, by worshiping Him in your home and in your local church, and by singing His praises.
2. Keep His Commandments – “We keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:22). Do right. God will be pleased.
3. Share What You Have With Others – “But to do good and to communicate (share with others) forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). Share your possessions, your salvation story, your time, your money, your talents and your faith. Let His love flow through you, by your words and by your actions, to others.
4. Endure Hardness – “Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ… that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Timothy 2:3,4). Never give up. Never turn away from the Father. No matter what hard circumstances occur in your life keep your focus on the Heavenly Father. He is our hope, our help and our peace (John 6:68).
5. Present Your Body For His Service – “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable (well pleasing) unto God…” (Romans 12:1). To please the Father, let Him use your hands, your feet, your mouth, your abilities, your body for His service.
All this, along with many other scripture verses, teaches us that in order to please our Father, we must totally serve Him. We must be good managers of our possessions and our time. “For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable (well pleasing) to God…” (Romans 14:18). We live to please Him so we can hear His words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matthew 25:21). My heart’s desire is to please my Father. How about you?
This is written because I care…
Don’t forget to say, Happy Father’s Day!