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BREAKING THE HEART OF THE FATHER


D. J. Wilbur Chapman told a story related to him by R. A. Torrey of an old father and mother who determined to give their boy an education. They were as poor as they could be. They had a conference in their home, and decided to send their boy to the university. They knew he must be away three years in his preparatory work, and four years in his college work, seven years in all. In the summer vacation he must work near the school and could not come home. Every dollar sent to him increased the pinch of poverty at home.


Finally, the old father said: "Wife, I cannot stand it; I am going to see him." He did not have money enough to go by train, so he drove by horse and wagon across the hills. It took him days and days, and the horse he drove was ridiculous in appearance. The wagon in which he drove provoked a smile from all who saw him come into the university yard.


He never knew that his boy had drifted. He had not been told that he had forgotten his father’s God. Three young fellows came swinging down the sidewalk in the university town. When they saw the old man, they laughed at him. He saw them in the distance too, and his old heart began to beat rapidly. He recognized one of them as his boy. He threw down his lines, sprang out of his wagon. and ran to meet his boy. The boy looked at him for only a moment, then, in the presence of his friends who had jeered at this old man, told him he did not know him, He said: "You are not my father!"


The old man turned, without a word; he did not touch his boy; he did not kiss him. He got into his wagon, rode away back over the hills, went into the old farmhouse, sat down in the old chair; his head drooped forward on his breast, and he was dead. He had broken the heart of his father. The boy had lost the vision of the old days, when his father said he would educate him; the recollection of his father’s prayers did not stir him.


How often we forget and break the heart of God!


(From a sermon by Gerald Flury, How to Honor Our Father, 6/19/2010)

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