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a father's gift

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.  (1 Chronicles 28:9 ESV)

In studying 1 Chronicles 28 and David's passing the leadership baton to his son Solomon, I remembered a poem that means a lot to me.  I edited the original slightly and printed it out to give to my sons at Christmas in 1997.  Unlike David I do not have a lot of material wealth to pass on to my children, but I do have a spiritual heritage.

The original author was Merrill C. Tenney (1904-1985), a Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Graduate School at Wheaton College.  He wrote this for his two sons.

A Father’s Gift

To you, O son of mine, I cannot give
A vast estate of wide and fertile lands;
But I can keep for you, long as I live,
Unstained hands.

I have no coat of arms that insures
Your path to eminence and worldly fame;
But longer than empty heraldry endures
A blameless name.

I have no treasure chest of gold refined
No horded cache of glittering wealth;
I give to you my hand, and heart, and mind –
All of myself.

I can exert no mighty influence
To make a place for you in men’s affairs;
But lift to God in secret audience
Unceasing prayers.

I cannot, though I would, be always near
To guard your steps with the parental rod;
I trust your soul to Him who holds you dear,
Your father’s God. 

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