For almost four months, Abbi and I have been on that great joyride known as parenthood. Through sleep deprivation and an increase amount of caffeine in
our my daily diet, we have been blessed with the greatest blessing we could ever imagine in being Noah’s parents. No other joy we have had in our lives compares to the joy of hearing his coos, seeing his smiles, or watching him kick his toys.
We’re enjoying parenthood.
I, especially, am enjoying being a father. With my office in an area of the parsonage, I have the rare opportunity of being able to stay home and care for Noah during the day. I’ve learned a lot by being a work-at-home dad and, to be honest, I think it has made me a better pastor.
One such way is that I appreciate God’s unconditional love a little more deeply. In my soul, I’ve always known that God loves me for who I am, but I don’t believe it truly sunk in until I held Noah for the first time and every day since. There is nothing Noah can do that would make me stop loving him. No matter how many times he kicks the arch off his play mat or how loud he screams, I will still love him and be there for him. The love we share to our children is akin to the very love God has for us. It is unconditional and always available.
It’s a love, I hope, I have been able to share with my congregations and the entire church. For me, phrase “love them where they are” has taken on new importance. As a pastor my role is to love our people and be a guide for them. It is not to love them only if they reach a certain place in their spiritual journey with Christ. It is to love them for who they are, unconditionally, and walk with them as we grow together in Christ’s love. This is an unconditional love that is shared with the churches I serve and the entire global church. Even when the church gets it wrong, God still pours his love out upon it and us. I hope I am doing the same, each day, as a pastor.
Finally, the love of being a dad has shown me how to better serve the entire world. Unconditional love means to love a world that is full of brokenness and failed dreams. We live in a world filled with violence, hurts, pains, bad decisions, misguided agendas, and unforgiven pasts. God loves us through all of this. No matter what we do … God still loves his world and creation, which includes each of us. Sometimes we forget to share with the world the same love God shares with us. God hurts for the world when it hurts, just like a parent hurts for their child when they hurt. Whatever I am able to do for the kingdom, I hope the one thing I can do is share this unconditional love with all.
There is so much more I need to learn about being a dad. I am thankful, right now, that what I have learned has made me a better servant and a better pastor.