A Father’s Example
By Caron Cline
Growing up as a pastor’s daughter had its fair share of charms and challenges. As a child, my father pastored a quickly growing church that included many families with children my age. We were a tight-knit group and most Sunday evenings after the service, 25-30 people made their way to our house for homemade ice cream. It was during these times that my love for a church family took root. When I was fourteen, the Lord called my dad to Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton and for a season, I was convinced my life would end in loneliness and despair. As God would have it, just a few weeks after the move, I suddenly realized that Morganton was the best place on earth. The decision to relocate was also difficult for my parents but the desire to be in the center of God’s will took precedence. As a new and young pastor, my father began systematically visiting every church member, seeking to build relationships with his new flock. There were many senior citizens in the fellowship and he immediately won their hearts and they, his.
The role of a pastor is multi-faceted. Preaching and teaching the word of God, as well as visiting the sick, were witnessed by all. However, behind the scenes, there were midnight phone calls from those who struggled with alcohol; evening counseling sessions with couples amid serious marital issues; and late-night deliveries of food to hungry people. On multiple occasions, my dad chopped wood for widows in need, drove members to doctor appointments and the grocery store, and even painted a few houses. Countless times, this pastor sat by the bedside of the sick and dying and held their hand as they took their final breath. Whether it was Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other day of the year, my father was only a phone call away. Surely the flock under his care felt his deep love for each one of them. Subconsciously, his example of serving and loving others was being instilled within my heart. As an adult, I understand the importance of putting others before myself. Unfortunately, I am still struggling to follow my father’s example in this area, although it is indelibly ingrained in my mind.
As any pastor, my dad had his fair share of critics, some harsher than others. In one particular situation, a church member created a petition asking for his resignation from the church. There was no basis for this demand, therefore, it was dismissed. Later, when the same man was hospitalized with a very serious issue, my dad laid aside his hurt and made his way to the hospital to visit and pray for healing. This action was a major lesson for me in humility and I was amazed at his willingness to forgive such a betrayal. My father does not waste time and energy harboring unforgiveness but moves forward in grace and mercy. He has always accepted people for who they are, where they are, but is intentional about sharing Christ and the hope and peace He offers. Those who have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ through his ministry will only be revealed in glory, but I believe the number is incalculable.
Fathers have an incredible influence and impact on the lives of their children. A child’s first opinion of God is formed based on the example set by their father. What a huge responsibility! I am still seeking to emulate Larry Cline in the areas of love, service, humility, and forgiveness. I desire to be the example to others that he has been to me!
Caron is a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton, NC. She loves to teach the word of God.
Her desire is to see every believer grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Read more good Christian news from Caron HERE.