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Words to a Dead Father

There are a few pastors outside the four walls of my church who’ve had a great impact on me. Among names on that short list is John Piper, who is a pastor in Minneapolis. I’ve never met him, only heard him and read his books, and I recommend anything/everything he’s ever written.

I found out this week that his father William died on Tuesday and ran across John’s blog where he recollected his thoughts and feelings as he attended his father in his final moments at the hospital. It was one most precious and heartfelt things I’ve read in a long time. In it you see the great love for a father who did it right and a son who has most assuredly followed in his steps as a man who God has used to touch hundreds of thousands of people…if not more. All of it was incredible, but one piece stood out to me as far as being a parent.

John looked down at now lifeless body of his father and said:

Thank you, Daddy. Thank you for sixty-one years of faithfulness to me. I am simply looking into his face now. Thank you. You were a good father. You never put me down. Discipline, yes. Spankings, yes. But you never scorned me. You never treated me with contempt. You never spoke of my future with hopelessness in your voice. You believed God’s hand was on me. You approved of my ministry. You prayed for me. Everyday.…I kissed him on his cold cheek and on his forehead. I love you, Daddy. Thank you.
Oh, to have my kids say to me what John said to his father! That when I’m on my deathbed they gather round and say, “Thanks Dad for loving me like God called you to love me! Thanks for leaving a legacy of grace and godliness that I’m going to pass on to your grandkids. I love you, Daddy. Thank you.”

Jesus, please grant me the grace to lead my children in such a way that they would know you, love you and make you known to the ends of the earth. Amen.

Needless to say, I highly recommend reading Piper’s blog on his father’s death. You can catch it here: Hello, my dad just died

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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