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In the usual course of events, you will have your son with you on a daily basis, under your roof, at your dinner table, for about eighteen years.  Plenty of time to say to him what needs to be said.

For example, on my seventeenth birthday, my senior year in high school, my dad and mom gave me a new Bible.  An RSV.  You can see above how he inscribed it:


Nothing could be greater than to have a son — a son who loves the Lord and walks with Him.

Your mother and I have found this Book our dearest treasure.  We give it to you and doing so can give nothing greater.  Be a student of the Bible and your life will be full of blessing.  We love you.



Phil. 1:6″

Naturally, the first thing I did after reading that was turn to Philippians 1:6.  It says, “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  So encouraging.

Apart from the words my dad spoke to me the day he led me to Christ, what he wrote above was his greatest statement to me ever.  It has always proven true.  I can hardly read it today without weeping.

Have you said this yet to your son?  Many years from now, after you have left him, your son will remember your words.  He will know they were true words, important words, words guiding him to Christ time after time.  And he will be moved to the depths of his being.

But you must say this to your son.  And the time is now.

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4 thoughts on “Have you said this yet to your son?”

  1. Speaking from experience, I can say that having a son who loves and serves the Lord is one of the most inspiring, comforting, and encouraging experiences one could have. Our son is now nearing the end of his 13th year as a pastor of a church. We rejoice at his service, and it all grew out of a response to a sermon on gratitude. Yes, an ordinary, run-of-the-mill sermon, if there is such a thing, delivered on the text, I Thess. 5:18, led our son to respond to a call to the ministry. Seeing his devotion in the years since has been awesome. We are thankful for the privilege.

  2. shaun says:

    far too few fathers say things like this to their sons…thankfully, one Father says through his servant Paul, “…you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…” -Romans 8:15-17

  3. Barry says:

    Very fitting remarks from the author of my favorite commentary on Proverbs.

  4. Tom says:

    Know that you have been blessed. So many of us would have longed to received this encouragement from their fathers, but didn’t. And yet many of us know Christ, while our Fathers did not. And that is a most remarkable blessing.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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