It was 1993 and I was a teenager, growing up in a fairly large church. I grew up in one of the greatest youth groups a kid could ever ask for, but I also grew up in an environment where “teasing” was as common as breathing air. Some of my fondest memories were when we would tease each other during various road trips in the church van, whether it was a trip to a Boy Scout camp or a Youth Rally. We were very harsh with each other and sometimes it felt as though there never was a boundary or a line to cross. In laymen’s terms, that meant your parents were fair game!
At a very young age, before he was even a teenager, my father had to undergo an artificial hip replacement surgery. Doctors never found what caused my father’s hip to deteriorate at such a young age. My father learned to walk the halls of High School with his books and crutches under both arms. He learned to overcome obstacles through his teenage years. However, the one thing that my father could never control or hide was his limp when he walked.
It was common for me, during my teenage years, to have my peers tease me about how my father walked. My father wasn’t able to do a lot of the things other fathers were able to do, but that never stopped my father from being one of the greatest influences in my life today! My father might have never been the best athlete at the church picnic, but he was a shining example at the altars of praise and worship! I watched as a child, my father who was a large and burley man, weep in the presence of God. I noticed every night before heading to bed, as I passed by his bedroom, him kneeling beside his bed praying for our family. Every morning I’d wake up and run down stairs, I’d find my father sitting at a kitchen table in front of an open Bible reading from the Word of God.
I am reminded of a father in Matthew 4:18-22, And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, … he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. I can’t help but focus on James and John, two sons that are constantly known by their father, Zebedee. There isn’t much detail about Zebedee. His name is only mentioned ten times in the entire book of the Bible and most every time it is in reference to his sons.
I don’t know if James and John grew tired of being known as the “sons of Zebedee”, but I’d like to believe that Zebedee left his mark on his son’s lives. There was a reason James and John immediately left their ship and forsook everything they knew to follow Jesus. There was a reason Jesus called them “the sons of thunder”. I believe there were moments of sacrifice, moments of worship and moments of praise in Zebedee’s life, all going unnoticed by his sons, James and John. I believe it was because they had a father in their lives that taught them how to fall in love with God and how to heed the call of the Master!
I am grateful for the Zebedee in my life! I am thankful for a godly father who was different from others! It was because of his example that I am who I am today! So when someone looks at my father as he limps by, I proudly say “ya…that’s my dad, he taught me how to walk!”