Meridian Star

June 15, 2013

From the Shepherd’s heart

By Dr. John A. Temple / guest columnist
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     “A certain man had two sons.” — Luke15:11

Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Like many others, I have been asked what I wanted for Father’s Day. My response is, “I don’t need anything!” That is how I really feel. Let me explain.

    Like the Father in “the Parable of the Prodigal Son,” I have two boys. Each is unique in his own way. The older son, Shawn, lives with us at home. He has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. My younger son, Andrew, is married and successful in a career in another town.

    But, having children is not enough to cause me to celebrate. What I celebrate most is being needed. From each son, I have a regular chance to feel needed.

    Every night, Shawn wants his wheelchair next to me as we watch television. Soon after we roll him near, I will feel his crippled hand touch me on the shoulder. Without saying a word, Shawn asks for me to rub his hand. Crippled by time and illness, a nightly massage seems to lessen the pain and bring a huge smile on his face.

    Almost daily, the other son calls. Andrew will rehearse his day with me. I probably hear more of his thoughts than anyone else. He seems to lighten up on the stresses if I can give him encouragement or approval. Though I know nothing about his business, my advice seems sought and appreciated.

    It is possible that the two are considering what they could do to help me celebrate “Father’s Day,” even as you read this. What I wish them to know is that the celebration of being needed the other 364 days of the year is a celebration that goes much further than a gift card or something to put in the closet.

    The Parable of the Prodigal Son, the father aggressively sought each son so that he could meet them where they were struggling. This powerful illustration of our Heavenly Father shows us that on this Father’s Day weekend, what good Father’s need most is just to be needed.

    In reality, that is what we all need! Why not let someone important in your life know how much you need them. You will probably make their day!

    Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www.