Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Letter at Frank's Funeral by Chip

The greatest lesson my father ever showed me was that of team work. His partner and the love of his life, my mother, was a testament to how God established the family and the importance it was to be given. Their true love and commitment to one another stayed the test of time and circumstance, as they lived out their lives together. He and mom lived a dedicated life to God first and then to one another that was so seamless that we never remember when they weren't together or in agreement on anything. Quitting was not in their vocabulary and commitment to remain faithful to their God and one another was their consistent standard. For that testimony of the team mom and dad made I will be forever grateful.

In light of this team work according to godly standards, the lessons dad always felt important to teach us throughout our lives and through his personal example and investment of time is that, 
  • "Real growth is often experienced through great personal trial and sacrifice."
  • "Nothing in life that is worth having will come easy, so don't expect it to."
  • "Ultimately, if you commit to a task work as hard as you can to complete it as unto the Lord for He will judge the results of your effort and the motivation of your heart in the end regardless of how things turned out."
  • "God will always be with us, if we are actively abiding in Him."
These practical life lessons and the appropriate use of scripture to back them up was how we learned to live life to its fullest. Dad would say, "Life has difficult moments, but in all reality living life is simple...just do right. If you don't know what right is...ask for help, but keep yourself out of the way and let God do what He deems necessary in your life." A favorite passage that he would often share was found in 2 Timothy 2:15 which says,
  • “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Dad would remind us that it is God's truth that lights our way, sets us free from our chains and shows us how to live and for Whom to live. All we have to do is accept God's offer. However, we will never truly appreciate nor understand what that truth means without study, so study, study and study some more. It is through the diligent focus of God's word in our lives that we understand what He expects of us and tells us what we can expect from Him. It is only in this manner that our lives are approved for His service.

Ultimately though God's glory was what dad sought for most in everything he put his hand to do. When talking with dad many times his life simply mirrored 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says,
  • "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
With this mindset as his focus everything else fell into place, no matter what it was. This unfailing standard was what drove dad to go and do all that he did during his life.

While in the hospital and shortly before he had the tube inserted into his throat he said to mom and I one day that he believed God had brought him there because this was now his mission field. He was just as clear on his purpose then as he was until he was promoted home. We often witnessed how during his hospital stay in the first 33 days dad spoke to every doctor, nurse, counselor, case worker and housekeeper who came by or into his room and he always asked them of their spiritual condition. Then he would share what God had done for him during his life. As a result we estimate that he had spoken to at least 100 people during his month stay and 10 of those days he couldn't talk at all.

So clear was his focus and love for the Lord and His call that he couldn't keep quiet. What a joy and privilege it is to call Frank Patterson my father and my hero!

(August 3, 2015 at Salem Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC, read by Nat Thompson)