BY SCOT THIGPEN
The Power of the Father’s Words
Caleb, a 4’9” ten-year-old boy, is sitting on the front pew at church, and along with hundreds of others of us, is listening to his father preach on the lessons that could be learned from the life of King David. I am a tad larger and older and on the back row, taking sermon notes. I find myself tracking two messages. One was following the message being shared. The other, a fortunate by-product as often comes from a Spirit-inspired message.
Preacher Steve was introducing the very familiar story of David and Goliath, particularly his courage to face the giant. And then casually says, “Reminds me of my son Caleb,” with a note of proud father-dom. That’s when the two-track thing started and lots of notes in the margin began to surface.
What hit me in that instant, was what in the world could young Caleb be feeling, knowing his hero just made a public statement announcing to the world that his son proudly reminded him of David. From the back row, I couldn’t see but imagined Caleb looking around, “swole up” as we say, making sure everybody heard what his Father had just announced—that his son reminded him of this great figure. I imagine his 4’9” grew to 7 feet tall pretty fast.
The power of a Father’s words is one of the strongest forces in life. I had to do a quick little informal interview with Caleb after church to see if he would share his actual feelings from that moment. And he did. And to my surprise, he felt like it was “funny.” I was looking for some profound impact that it had on him, that it made him feel very good inside his 4’9” frame. That feeling of “good” was absent from his response because it was just simply normal. Caleb gets it all the time and it’s all he knows. That’s a blessing—and that will make a powerful impact on the rest of his life.
What if preacher Steve had said the opposite? That Caleb did NOT remind him of King David. How devastating those father’s words would be. Or, what if Caleb never heard those words of affirmation and went his entire life wondering if he was good enough or worthy enough. I wonder how many men are reading this who a) always heard words of affirmation from a father, b) heard just the opposite or c) never heard either and are left to wonder. What I do know is that the manifestations of each option will be profoundly different.
You may be like Caleb and have an earthly father whose affirmation was normal. You may have heard the opposite or you may wonder. No matter which of these resonates with your own experience, one thing is true for all sons of God. If we are in Christ Jesus, your Heavenly Father speaks to the world something to the effect of, “Behold my son, in whom I am well pleased.” Let those powerful words from THE Father sink in. That kind of truth allows us to face giants and join Caleb in being 7 feet tall.
The words of an earthly father are powerful forces. The reality of the Heavenly Father’s love language to his sons is even more so. God grant all earthly fathers the grace to abide so our words will be your words. Allow all men to speak your words into the life of a young man every day and recognize the power of these words. The world needs seven footers.
Scot Thigpen is president of The Thigpen Group, a Wealth Advisory Firm in Jackson, MS. He is married to the former Kimberly Inkster and they are parents of two sons and attend Christ United Methodist Church. Contact him at SThigpen@thethigpengroup.com.