1Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.
2The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. 3Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies: 4Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions . . .
My Dad once preached a sermon where he suggested that being against a bad version of something was far less practical than being for the good. In his time, people had preached sermons against too much novel reading (!), the dangers of radio dramas, and television. There was truth to the warnings, but better would have been demonstrations of proper use of the new technologies. A discussion on beauty is far more powerful than warnings about ugliness. Meditating on the good and the true should take up most of our time, even if a prophetic word about the ugly and the false must be given from time to time.
Our primary motivation must be love of the good God and not fear of the evil one and his works!
So let me praise my father and the patriarchs I have known and who have gone before me. The Lord has done great deeds through them. I have seen Dad take risks for the truth, create beautiful structures, and then be willing to move forward when the time came to go. He exercises power through wisdom and understanding. Dad went to school, got the proper credentials, but then used that knowledge to serve many different kinds of folks. He does the best he can to preach a true word of God. He was a part of a beautiful movement of racial reconciliation, the Memphis Miracle.
He gets the big things right. If I began badly, his witness and example are primary reasons that I strive to end well.
He was the product of a father that was a leader in his church. Papaw sacrificed activities he enjoyed such as hunting to make sure that there was a man at Sunday service. He was the son of a pastor, my great-grandfather, who rode through his part of West Virginia, speaking a good word. These men were proper patriarchs and were themselves the children of men who did great deeds in their times. One left his horse in the field to go and fight for the Union.
There are many such men, patriarchs, living and dead. They often live quiet lives, glorious to God. When other fathers fail, they step in and fill gap. Some rule kingdoms, but most rule their own passions. The governance of the soul is the hardest task of all and the Christian patriarch does so. He is a wise father, an indispensable role, loving as a father loves. I am for these men and praise them, famous to God.
My father, his father, and all the great-grands made all the good that I experience possible. Thank you, Dad. Thank you for patriarchs, living and dead, spiritual and physical. We honor you as we should.