“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

I remember way back yonder when I was much younger oh about maybe before my first decade was completed. It was as I traveled the streets of Charleston people that didn’t know me would greet me as we passed along. Some would pause and say “never have seen you before, who are you, young lad?” I would answer, I’m Tommy.” I would get a hello and soon the question would be asked: “Who is your Father?” I would tell them that my Father was Dr. Robert Kirkpatrick and that would start various other conversation.

As the years passed on this would keep happening that people wanted to know who my Father was. I just figured that it was just a polite way to start a conversation amongst strangers. That may and probably is true but I always wondered why they first wanted to know who my Father was. Now in my later years, I find myself using the same tactic for the purpose of starting conversations, either individually or in groups.

What happens when that question is asked of someone it becomes a great tool for data mining. When people speak about their fathers you can hear the history of great heroism or stories of abandonment. Or they will speak of great joys or time lived in great pain, their pride in their father or the shame they had brought to them. If history is good or bad it still is a building block for greater thoughts of admiration or assistance. Many times when speaking with the elder ones the doors fly open to allow the message of Jesus to be accepted. And if the history is not so good the door will open for what a loving Lord can do to reshape their lives positively.

The key thing her is no matter the outcome you can learn a lot about the person you are speaking to. By either knowing someone’s father or learning their history you can surmise the character of the child you are conversing with. My father was a Presbyterian Minister in a large Church and many people that I met knew of my father and used that as a gauge to judge the character of his son. I must admit here that the standard of my character based upon my father was a high standard to reach. In my pride of my father I never once denied that I was his son. Not that I would think as some people do even if their father was an unsavory sort.

This is not a hard fact but if the father is a professional who inspires his children to go after the best education that can be found the child will often better themselves over the work of their father. This is true even if the father is a little less than desirable the child sees the faults and will strive to become better. I think the point is if the father is a solid professional or a fly by night drifter in his employment if he instills the need for education in his children they will better themselves over their father. I know that is not always the case either way but for the most part, a loving father will inspire his child to better off than he was.

Knowing one’s father can elevate the stature of the child. When ones learn that a child’s father is a successful man then that respect transfers to the child. That does not mean that a child was a failure or a father will stay on the lower end of the corporate ladder. The truth is that whatever your father has done, good or bad, only affect the first opinion of the child. It is the efforts of the child that is the ultimate outcome of an opinion one will have. The laws of probability are not hard fact.

Still, the first opinions of a child are formed by the reputation of their father. This could be seen as fair or unfair but is fact. When one meets someone they know nothing of by learning who their father is, gives a base to build an opinion on. The opinion is the starting point in the process of knowing the true identity of a person. A person’s identity defines who they are and the way that they think of themselves. A person is defined by the characteristics that they have and the name they carry. To carry your father’s name points to your identity.

In a future since the identity of a person can enhance the opportunities they are offered as they go through their life and the name that you carry also binds you to the inheritance that you will receive in the future.

It is an important question when someone asks who your father is. The answer is the starting point from which they will identify you with. I am and always will be my father’s son and even today after he has been gone since 1988 I and others still benefit from who he was. A man’s earthly father is a valuable gift that should never be discounted. Even if your father was less than you wanted still the unknown influence on your life is invaluable. Fathers always leave their children. Some leave forever and some are waiting in the heavenly home for all their children to come home. I know my father is waiting for me there and shortly after he will take me to the heavenly woodshed.

Jesus taught that the true Father that we can have for eternity is in Heaven and He is there longing for our arrival. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9) As a result even as I would never deny my earthly father and am anxious to see him I long greater to see my Heavenly Father. As much as my earthly father provided for me, as much as he taught me, not only many years ago but still to this day, and the good name he gave I await more to see my Heavenly Father.

I have a challenge that was just for me and now I pass along to you. The day will come when someone will ask “who’s your father.” I used to just say, Dr. Robert Kirkpatrick. But that is just a half-truth and I now say Dr. Robert Kirkpatrick is my earthly father but God is my Heavenly Father. I am eternally grateful for what my earthly father has done for me but it is my Heavenly Father that has by His grace given me an eternity to live. As I am a child of God. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

As a Child of God the people I answer to will know the character that I am coming from. Yes, they will see that I am a sinner, but I am a forgiven sinner through my repentance. They will see my character because it is unlike those of the world, it is as those who are from Heaven and soon to return there. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:23-24)

I am of little education in this world except for the school of hard knocks. I made it through High School, joined the Army, and have been driving a truck ever since. But I am not uneducated because all knowledge and wisdom come from the Lord. “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6) As I pray, study, and meditate on His truths I learn from Him, my Heavenly Father, all that I need to accomplish the work that He has predestined for me to accomplish. (Ephesians 2:10)

Mt Heavenly Father gives me stature. What greater stature can one have but to say their Father is the Creator of all. What other father can say that! My Heavenly Father can and is the Creator. Because I am his child I am not out of step with His creation but in unity with it. I am not an orphan in this world because I have a Heavenly Father, I am not a castaway because He is my Father and that is my stature.

My identity comes from my Heavenly Father and either righteous or unrighteous the people know that I stand on the Rock. If the evil spiritual forces in the heavenly places cannot shake me then no one on earth can either because the King of kings is my brother.

My Heavenly Father gives me an eternity of opportunity reaching far beyond the world that we live in. He is my Creator and I was created with and for a purpose. There is good work for me to do and it has been prepared long ago in the ancient of time. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

There is a great reward for my labors here in this world that far exceed the sacrifices I have made. There is nothing here in this world that I will take with me and all I desire is what I need. The inheritance my Heavenly Father will give me is not just when I arrive home but He cares for me here in this world also. Because first I seek Him in all that I do. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) In faith in the promises of my Heavenly Father’s Word at the other sin of the river, I will have the wealth of His Kingdom. “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) I ask you “Who’s your Father?”

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, December 12, 2018

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