Lessons I Learned from My Dad

Father’s Day Message

Happy Father’s Day!

Fathers play a fundamental role in the lives of their children. We are to protect, provide, nurture and admonish, and point our family to the ultimate source of life, our Heavenly Father. While not perfect, we are to be an earthly representation of who God is.

I lost my dad to diabetes, heart and kidney disease back in September of 2020. As I continue to lead and father my family, I find it difficult to describe the void in my life caused by the absence of my dad. The best way I know to fill the void is: 1) allow the Lord to fill that void with His presence; 2) remember what my dad taught me and live out those principles.

“Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you…” Proverbs 1:8a (Msg) 

Here are just a few life principles I learned from my dad.


My dad would always say, “If you start something, you’re not going to quit. You’re going to finish it.” This played out in so many areas of my childhood memories and life lessons. Whether it’s learning to ride a mini-bike at the age of 4, playing school sports, raising a family, or planting and pastoring a church; I can still hear my dad say, “Son, you’re not going to quit. You’re going to finish what you start.” That still sticks with me to this very day!


Another statement I can hear my dad say is, “Jon, you always treat others the way you want to be treated.” My dad was well known in the community, and everyone knew he lived by this statement. He would literally give you the shirt off his back, if needed. As his son, through the years I watched my dad go the extra-mile for family, friends, his employees, clients, and total strangers.

When I would go home to visit, my dad would always have a friend he wanted me to go visit with him in the hospital or nursing home. He genuinely cared for, and went the extra-mile for others.


I can still hear my dad saying, “Nothing is free! You have to work for everything you have in life.” My dad was a hard-working man! He started three business, built and managed a car wash, and had several real estate investment properties. Oh, by the way, he wasn’t able to finish high school because he had to go to work!

I remember in 1984, Debbie and I had been married just a few months. I went to my dad’s house and asked to borrow the small TV he had in the basement in his workshop. You know, just starting out we didn’t have very much!

He said to me, “Jon, stand in this living room and look around. Everything you see here, I worked for! No one gave me anything. So, no, I’m not going to loan you my TV. If you want one, then go to work, save your money, and buy one.” Now as a young man, I was furious! I didn’t say anything. I just turned around, left his house and went to work!

Years later I went back to my dad and thanked him for that very lesson he taught me. It was a hard lesson, but it has been one of the greatest principles to live by in my life. Go to work! Do not expect others to give you anything! Oh, how does this lesson need to be taught today!

Actually, what he taught me was very Biblical:

“Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 (The Message)


Now, unfortunately, my dad was not a church-going man. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he had a great respect for God, he believed in Him and His Word. He was a Christian and had trusted Christ as his Savior. For reasons, I will not share at this time, he struggled with church membership and attendance. However, he memorized portions of the God’s Word and read his bible often.

Just two weeks before my dad passed away, he was watching our worship service here at Victory Church online. In my message I quoted John 14:1-6. He told me that Sunday afternoon driving home from church, “Jon, I quoted that John 14 passage with you this morning. He told me he had memorized that passage of Scripture as a kid in Vacation Bible School.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. – John 14:1-6 (kjv)

If our earthly fathers have such an impact on our lives, compare this to the bursting, unconditional love that our Heavenly Father has for us:

“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 (nlt)

Consider the many gifts God has given us. He has given us breath for our bodies. He has given us His creation: the beautiful sunrise and sunset, the pleasure of delicious foods, the warmth of community, and fellowship. Most wonderfully, God has given us His Son:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (niv)

This Father’s Day, let’s take time to recognize those who have taken on the role of fatherhood in our lives, whether a biological father, church father, etc. Lastly, let’s give thanks to our Heavenly Father.

Dad, Happy Father’s Day! I love you!

Trust in Jesus as your Savior!

Follow Him as your Lord!

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