He was spending a few weeks with his uncle, a father-figure in his life. During the visit an opportunity was presented to join his uncle’s Scout troop for a 10-day backpacking trip on Isle Royale National Park. It was the first time the young city-boy had spent any time in the wilderness. It was also a first to have so much one-on-one time with his uncle. They talked about everything from the moose and wolves of Isle Royale to what it meant to be a man, husband and father. The impact he had as a father-figure planted a seed for a love of the wilderness and a love for our Father.
Extended time away from day-to-day noise presents a unique opportunity that can open hearts to a new level of relationship. Some 28 years later, that city-boy would take his teenage daughter on a similar trip. And a few years later, his son. Those trips provided a new level of connection relationally between father-daughter and father-son that proved foundational as the dad and kids matured.
You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments. – Exodus 20:4-6. There are a lot of images or idols in the world today distracting men from right priorities. Worship of financial security, a successful career or even a strong ministry following is alive and well. The religion of success in the world is too often what fathers are passing on to the third and fourth generation instead of what God really desires - relationship that reflects His love a thousand generations out.
On a recent father-son backpacking trip, another uncle brought his nephew with the intent of investing in him as a father-figure. Neither of them had done much hiking or spent any time in the wilderness. After a week on the trail, encouraging each other through the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges, a new level of relationship was realized between the two of them. On the journey, their relationship with the Lord moved to a new level as well because the young man asked his uncle to baptize him as they stood in the San Juan River. Wow – thousand generation stuff!
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the blessing of Uncle Don in my life. He did not have to invest in this confused teenager 47 years ago but by Your grace he did. Our time in the wilderness planted a seed of love for You and Your creation that impacted me, my children and now perpetuates on through the ‘staying connected’ piece of Faithful Fathering. Thank You for the glimpse of Your glory provided through another uncle investing well in his nephew. Be with them as they continue to grow closer to You and deeper in relationship with You. And provide the clarity needed for me and Faithful Fathering as we continue the journey to PASS the BATON to the next generation. Amen.
A faithful father understands his impact and invests time in the next generation.