"Then I heard further [perceiving the distinct words of] a voice from heaven, saying, Write this: Blessed (happy, to be envied) are the dead from now on who die in the Lord! Yes, blessed (happy,to be envied indeed), says the Spirit, [in] that they may rest from their labors, for their works (deeds) do follow (attend, accompany) them!" Revelation 14:13, Amplified Bible
What do you do on Father's Day when your father is no longer living? The rituals of card-giving, gift-giving, dinners out, church celebrations, etc. are no longer a part of the day.
It can be a time for reminiscing, a time for re-calling and re-collecting, a time for gratitude, a time for thankfulness.
I am very thankful my father (Rev. Thomas Evans, D.D., 1925-2002) was a quiet warrior. Looking back, I have wondered how he acquired that status. He fought in two wars, attended and graduated from college and grad school while married with children, stayed married to my mother from 1946 until he died in 2002, helped raise two daughters and put them through college, taught public school, and served as a full-time pastor for twenty-three years.
He was active in ministerial associations, our family's block clubs and neighborhood associations. He drove us to school during bad weather, painted the trim on our old wood-frame house, oversaw the barbeque grill on the cook out holidays, and navigated our family through interstate highways during summer vacations.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, he managed to instill in me a love of books and reading, classical music, art, and the worship of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He took me to the symphony so that I could observe the instruments in action, walked me through our local historical museum so that I could more fully understand where I lived, and helped me plant tulips in our backyard when I was still a pre-schooler.
When he lay dying, he was gracious, peaceful, and shared last words of blessing with those around him. His friends and colleagues in ministry called him "the gentle giant."
No one accomplishes these things without a warrior's spirit. The truest warrior is seldom brash and boastful. You may not hear him or her coming, but you always know they are present because when they are in the room, things are different---and better.
When I reflect on my father's life, I am inspired to be more, to be better, and to refuse the distraction of petty, evil, or spiritually-weakening things and people. His life is an affirmation of the passage from Revelation 14:13 that reminds us our works will follow and accompany us--now, and in eternity.