THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I LEARNED FROM MY DAD…

GALATIANS 6:14-16: “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.” NLT‬‬

OBSERVATION: Our family was seated at the dining room table waiting for my father to return home. He had been laid off from his job as his previous employer had a management change and the entire team he was a part of was replaced. My father had been getting up every morning and diligently looking for work. He had a family to support and he did not take this responsibility lightly.

I still remember the moment he walked through the door. He said – “Meet the new Vice President of…”. I don’t remember the name of the company but I still remember how proud I felt that my father was a Vice President. Later that night I asked him about his new title. He said something to me that I did not understand at the moment but I have come to understand now as an adult. He said,

“A title and ten cents won’t buy you a cup of coffee!”

Didn’t my father appreciate his new accomplishment? Wasn’t he proud that he could boast of this new title? After all, how many kids had a dad that was a Vice President? Yet, my dad did not treat this as anything special. As he went through his life, his jobs and titles would change until he was just – Ralph “Carl” Zehnder, husband, father, and child of God.

This was the title my father cherished the most. He was a child of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. As all the world’s accomplishments faded into years that had passed, my father learned the secret of the cross of Jesus Christ. It was his only boasting in the final days of his life. It was his salvation, his strength, and his promise of eternal life. With the Apostle Paul, he could say,

  • “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.”

Now, I am my dad. Yesterday, I sent my employer of 43 years a letter of retirement. I have worked for this family-owned company all my career while I have also served the Lord as a pastor of four churches. As a bi-vocational pastor I have held two titles. Like my father, I too was a Vice President, and I also was a Senior Pastor. Now, I am settling into being Kirk L. Zehnder, father, husband, and a child of God!

As I look back at all these years, I am thankful for all that the Lord has allowed me to do. Concerning the ministry, there is still much that I have planned in helping churches establish discipleship programs in their local churches. Yet, I have laid down all my titles. And, when I look back on my entire life I realize what my father realized so long ago.

“A title and 10 cents won’t buy you a cup of coffee!”

Never before have Paul’s words spoken so clearly to my heart. There is only one thing I can boast about when I look over my life. It is the cross of Jesus Christ! I brought nothing to the cross but my sin. Jesus paid it all. His sacrifice is what has made it possible to walk in the faith of my father and to experience the joy of a full and growing relationship with my Heavenly Father. When I look over the entirety of my life and the years ahead of me, I realize,

  • “What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.”

As I ponder on these thoughts I am reminded of the great old hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God.
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
(Author: Isaac Watts)

Lord, as I take these steps of change in my life, may I glory only in Your cross! May the power of Your cross continue to call me to a life of surrender. May I fully understand that the only thing in life that matters is that I am being transformed into Your new creation – through the power of Your cross!

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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